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Lynx Lynx canadensis (Lynx lynx, Felis lynx)


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Canada Lynx
credit: Keith Williams/CCSA

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Family: Felidae, Cats view all from this family

Description This northern species has a tail that is all black at the tip. Upperparts are grizzled grayish brown with a varying degree of spotting. Winter fur is long and thick. Ears have long (4-5cm) black tufts of hairs and a central white spot on the back. Tail is relatively shorter than in the Bobcat; ear tufts and feet are larger. Females are slightly smaller than males. Denizen of boreal forests.

Dimensions 82-95cm, 9-12cm, 7-18kg

Endangered Status The Lynx is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened throughout its range in the lower 48 United States: Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This wildcat is naturally rare in the U.S., mainly because its prey species, the Snowshoe Hare, is found chiefly in Canada and Alaska. It is possible that human disturbance in Lynx habitat has driven it out of some parts of the U.S., but there is no conclusive evidence of this. There is no doubt, however, that it no longer lives in areas it once inhabitated, and that the species needs to be studied and monitored so that it isn't completely driven from the contiguous U.S.

Breeding Breeding season is March-April, with an average of 3 kittens born after 60-70 days. Dens are in hollow logs, stumps, timber clumps, or root tangles. Young remain with mother until next breeding season.

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Alpine & subalpine habitats, Canyons & caves, Swamps, marshes & bogs

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion Threatened because of sensitivity to human disturbance. Specialist hunter of Snowshoe Hares; also hunts other small mammals, beaver, and deer. Larger food items may be cached under snow or brush and visited later. Solitary, except for females with young. Peaks of activity occur at dawn and dusk, but may be active anytime. Denizen of boreal forests.