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Canada Lynx

Lynx canadensis

Lynx Gallery

About the Canada Lynx

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Geographic Range:

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Class: Mammalia  
Order: Carnivora  
Family: Felidae  
Genus: Lynx  
Species: canadensis

The Canada lynx has long, thick fur that's typically yellowish-brown in color and possibly patterned with dark spots. It has wide paws, covered in fur to easily maneuver over snow and ice in the cold Canadian winters. The lynx has been admired since ancient times for its keen eyesight. The word lynx comes from the Greek word “leyssein” meaning “to see.”

Meet the lynx kittens, Casey, Carla & Fred!

Canada Lynx Facts

Appearance:
The lynx has long, thick fur that’s usually yellow-brown and may be patterned with dark spots. This serves as camouflage in the forest. Their tails are short—so it doesn’t get snagged on low-hanging branches—with several dark rings and a dark tip. This tall cat has especially long hind legs which give it the appearance of being tilted forward. Lynx also have very large, densely furred feet, which may measure as wide as four inches across. These act as “snow shoes,” allowing them to walk easily in deep snow. Their ears are tipped with black hair tufts, and there’s often a flared ruff of fur around their necks.

Size:
Long legs and thick fur make this cat look much larger than it really is. Its head and body length is 31.5 to 39.25 inches, with a short 2 to 5 inch tail.
Males weigh 22 pounds; females weigh 19 pounds.

Diet:
In the wild, lynx primarily eat snowshoe hare, but they’ll prey on rodents, birds, fish and young deer.

Reproduction:
The breeding seasons lasts from February through March. The gestation period is 9 to 10 weeks.  Litters average two to three kittens, but can be as high as five. Young remain with their mothers for up to a year, and they may stay with siblings for some time thereafter.  Females reach sexual maturity at 21 months, males at 33.

Behavior:
Lynx are solitary and nocturnal, using their keen eyesight to stalk prey. They can climb trees, but prefer the ground. Lynx are good swimmers, sometimes crossing large rivers in search of prey. They establish territories varying in size that may overlap, but they’ll travel great distance outside their territory in search of food.

Role in their Habitat:
The lynx's population has been strongly associated with cyclical snowshoe hare population changes. Lynx are prey to cougars, wolves, wolverines and humans.

Habitat/Range:
Dense pine forest, but lynx may be found in rocky areas and the tundra, primarily in Canada. Their numbers substantially decrease in the more populous Southeast region. In the U.S., they’re found in Alaska, Western Montana, Northern Idaho and Northeastern Washington. When populations have been high in Canada, lynx have been reported in the Northern Plains and Great Lakes states, as well as in Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Maine.

Life Expectancy:
Average 15 years

Conservation:
In Canada where the lynx is listed as a Species of Least Concern, they are threatened by habitat loss from logging and are frequently hunted for their fur, which is regulated by the Canadian government. In the United States, the lynx is listed as Threatened on the Endangered Species List, and hunting is prohibited. Efforts in Oregon to curtail habitat loss and destruction have been initiated. There are plans for reintroduction in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State as well.

Fun Facts

  • Since ancient times, lynx have been admired because of their keen eyesight. The word lynx comes from the Greek word leyssein and translates, "to see." Lynceus, a Greek mythological hero, was said to have the ability to see through things.
  • In Italy, The Academy of the Lynxes was formed in 1603 to seek truth and dispel the misunderstanding of superstition and ignorance. Galileo was one of the Academies’ earliest members.
  • In the Native American tradition, the lynx is considered to be a problem-solver and the keeper of secrets.