Lynx

Felis lynx

Photo: Nancy Turner

Lynx

Appearance

Lynx looks like large house cats, but with a short tail and long ear tufts. They have grey fur in the winter and reddish brown in the summer. Lynx’s large feet allow them to travel over deep snow and they can spread out their toes, acting as snowshoes.

Range & Habitat

Lynx are found in the Boreal forests of North America. They prefer areas with old-growth forests, where there is a lot of undergrowth.

Diet & Behaviour

In the winter lynx  eat mainly snowshoe hares. In the summer they continue to eat hares, but will also hunt grouse, voles, mice and squirrels. They hunt at night, watching and listening for prey. Lynx will often wait silently near well-used trails, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting prey.

Lifecycle & Threats

The young (kittens) are born in April or May, in a sheltered area. Lynx don’t usually use a den, but will find shelter from rain and cold under uprooted trees or in hollow logs. Starvation is the greatest cause of death for the Lynx, which occurs during a cycle when there is a crash in snowshoe hare populations. This is a natural cycle; Lynx numbers increase when the hare populations start to rebuild. Trapping is another cause of death. Some scientists have recommended stopping trapping during times when the lynx population is low. Increased logging roads have given more access into lynx habitat to trappers.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.canadiangeographic.ca

Photo: Torbein