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Lynx - felis lynx
Picture of a Lynx

Lynx are a medium sized cat highly prized and known for their exquisitely beautiful thick, soft fur. Their coat color varies from buff to tawny but also some are colored a rich, dark gray often streaked with chestnut, and the belly is grayish-white also with black spots. One unusual physical feature common in the all the Lynx species is their short, stubby tail which is black at the tip. Unlike our other felines, where the tail is used for balance and comprises as much as 1/3 of their body length. The Lynxes' tails measures a mere 4" to 12" at most. The Lynx is easily recognized for their unusual facial hair. Their cheeks have long pale ruffs which form a pointed beard on each side of their face near the throat area. Lynx is the common name for these wild carnivores characterized by long legs and heavy paws. Lynx are known to be fierce nocturnal predators usually hunting at night with powerful jaws and long, pointed canine teeth and sharp retractable claws. They can be active at early dusk and dawn but they prefer to travel at night. Their extremely thick fur gives them the advantage of the illusion of size which is a distinct advantage for survival in the wilderness. Although not fast runners, they can leap up to 10 ft in the air and usually kill their prey with one powerful "death" bite to the throat.

Like the Caracal, most Lynx species have a tuft of hair at the tip of each ear at least one inch in length or longer. These ear tufts, although shorter than those of the Caracal, serve the same purpose - to quiet their arrival when hunting and help them in securing their wild prey unannounced. Lynx have oversized paws which act like natural "snow shoes" helping them navigate through the snow in the cold and temperate climates they inhabit. These paws are heavily padded with fur which helps them secure their footing and also allows them to approach prey in an almost silent fashion.

Lynx are stout, heavy bodied animals found throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Agile climbers and opportunistic hunters, Lynx spend a good amount of time hiding on the limbs of trees waiting for small mammals, like the hares they are so found of eating and terrestrial birds that constitute a large percentage of their prey, to pass beneath them. The Canadian Lynx is particularly fond of the snowshoe hare which is abundant in their range; the other species also feed on hare, foxes, rodents, birds and their eggs and other smaller ungulates such as deer. The Lynx is a very resilient cat making full use of their habitat. During the inclement weather which frequents their harsh terrain, they are known to take shelter in caves, tangled thickets, fallen or hollow trees or logs. They also take advantage of these natural dens especially when breeding and rearing their young.

Four species of Lynx are formally recognized. The Canadian Lynx is the largest species and range from the northern United States through the Canadian Yukon and into Alaska. The Spanish Lynx is listed as an endangered species; the Bobcat which is also known as the wildcat is widespread throughout the United States with the exception of the mid-western states; and the Eurasian or northern Lynx.

Scientific Name: Lynx belong to the family Felis. Classification for the four species are as follows:
    Canadian Lynx as Lynx canadensis (Northern North America & Canada)
    Spanish Lynx or Spotted Lynx as Lynx pardinus (Southern Eurasia)
    Bobcat (aka Bay Lynx and Wildcat) as Lynx rufus (Small Lynx of North America & Canada)
    Eurasian Lynx as Lynx lynx (Northern Eurasia)

Range: North America through South American from the Canadian Yukon to the tip of South America. The areas within the Continental United States the Lynx historically occupied were four distinct separate geographic areas: Northern Rocky Mountains/Cascade Mountain Range, the southern Rocky Mountains, the Northeast into the Canadian Yukon and Alaska, and the Great Lake States. A small Lynx population is known to be scattered throughout the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. When found in Africa they are known as a desert lynx.
Average Weight:
  Female: 37 kg - 57 kg (17 lbs-26 lbs)
  Male: 40 kg - 62 kg (18 lbs -28 lbs)
Size (Length):
  Female: 65 to 120 cm (2'-2" - 4' ) with very small tail measuring approximately 11cm- 20cm (4.3"-12") max.
  Male: Same
Note: The Canadian Lynx is slightly larger measuring 90 cm (3 ft) with a tail length of 5cm - 14cm (2" to 5.5")
Diet: Primarily hares (a type of rabbit), smaller ungulates i.e., small deer; rodents, foxes, and terrestrial birds and their eggs.
Gestation Period: 70 Days
Sexual Maturity: 1 1/2 years - 3 years.
Birth Season: Breeding takes place in winter, with kittens born in May or June.
Cubs Per Litter: (Usually 2-4 kittens) Kittens are born blind and weigh .54kg - .90kg (1.2 - 2 Pounds)
Weaning: 6-8 Months
Cub Maturity: 10 months. Cubs will normally stay with mother through their first Winter and set out on their own in the Spring.
Lifespan: 12-18 years.
Predators: Coyotes, Wolves & Mountain Lions. Man. Highly valued for their exquisite fur, these animals are hunted and harvested to make fur coats where they are not protected.
Territory Size: Approx. 18 square miles but depends on prey density
Social Structure: Solitary, except during mating season.
Population: 700 to 1,200 remain in the lower 48 States.
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix II - Threatened. The Canadian Lynx was designated a protected species in 1998 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services throughout the lower of the 48 United States. The only states which do not offer protection to the Lynx is Montana and Alaska at present.
(All wildcats are listed on CITES Appendix I or II).
Other Threats: Other threats to the Lynx is destruction of their habitat by logging, road building, skiing and snow mobiles and other sport utility vehicles which disturbs the Lynx and displaces them from the forest habitat and reduces their natural prey availability which they need to survive.

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