Canadian Lynx

Lynx canadensis

Body Length(mm) -900-1100

Weight (kg) - 9-18 (male)

Litter Size - 2-4 average

Life Span - 15 years

Status - Least Concern

L.c.canadensis - Canada and North US

L.c.subsolanus - Newfoundland

The lynx, in its four species has by far the largest range of any of the felids and in as much inhabits the continents on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. In the ‘New World’, the Canadian lynx is found in both Canada and Alaska, as well as in some of the northern states of the USA, where changes in habitat and over hunting have reduced its extent. Lynx found in Newfoundland are sometimes accredited as a subspecies - that of L.c.subsolanus.

As in common with lynx in Europe and Asia the Canadian lynx inhabits mostly forested areas, but can be found in scrub land and tundra to the north. The lynx is distinctive in appearance - with its triangular shaped, tufted ears, thick set body, long hind legs, a short, stumpy tail and large fur covered paws which help carry the cat over deep snow , which is common in much of its range. The body size of the canadian lynx can vary quite considerably - from a little under 2 feet to in excess of four - the canadian species though, as a rule is smaller than the Eurasian Lynx. The coat is spotted, but in the Canadian species, the markings are less distinct than in European and Asian varieties, being almost masked by the thick tawny to grey coloured fur, which is often seen to have a ‘frosted’ appearance due the white tips to its fur.

The lynx is a diurnal hunter and in common with most wild cats, generally stalks prey alone, although group hunting and ambushing has been observed. Although not a timid hunter the lynx will rarely contest its prey if confronted by other carnivores and will leave its prey uneaten. Its prey varies from small rodents through to deer, with the Snowshoe Hare being by far its favoured prey. In certain areas the lynx is so closely tied to the Snowshoe that its population has been seen to rise and fall with that of the hare, even though other food sources may be abundant. In the autumn and winter months the lynx will often scavenge on the carcasses of larger animal such as caribou and deer who have perished with the onset of winter or have been shot during the hunting season. The canadian lynx itself is extensively hunted throughout much of its range and is listed in CITES Appendix 2.

1997 Andrew Garman