(the only lynx in North America)

Canada lynx

RANGE (map)

- North America ; mainly forested areas
- found in Canada, Alaska, northern states of USA


- prefers forests with thick growth of bushes
- follows the snowshoe hare


- looks like a very large house cat
- 90 to 110 cm.(about three feet)
- average weight of male about 11 kg (24 pounds)
- winter coat is light gray, spotted, long guard hairs with silver tips
- guard hairs are about 5 cm long
- thick, brownish underfur
- black on tips of ears and tip of tail
- reddish-brown summer coat
- summer coat is much shorter than winter coat
other features:
- black-tipped tufts of hair on the ears
- hairs called "ruff" come to a point on each side of face (look like a beard)
- short tail, long hind legs, large furry feet
- sharp teeth

lynx on the prowl
Erwin & Peggy Bauer, US Fish and Wildlife
larger image


- a predator, hunts at night
- preys mainly on the snowshoe hare
- also hunts grouse, small rodents (voles, mice, squirrels, chipmunks), foxes
- retractable claws, used for grabbing prey
- not a fast runner for long distances
- waits beside trails of snowshoe hare and pounces on it
- scavenger (will eat remains of dead deer, caribou, moose)
- hides left-over meat


- most active at night, rarely seen
- marks its territory


- sharp claws for hunting (catching prey), fighting and climbing
- large feet are covered with thick hair in the winter
- fur between toes acts like a snowshoe, helps the lynx walk on deep snow
- fur on paws keeps feet warmer in winter
- extra thick coat for winter, sheds coat in spring
- two types of fur - outer coat of long guard hairs, inner coat for warmth
- large eyes and ears for excellent sight and hearing
- more young are born if food (snowshoe hare)is plentiful
- migrates if not enough to eat in its territory


- litter averages 2 to 4 cubs (also called kittens)
- born in a den in late April, May and June
- den is under bushes or uprooted trees, in hollow logs
- born with a furry coat (brown with black spots)
- spots disappear later
- look like house kittens except have very tiny tail
- eyes are closed for 12 days
- weigh about 280 grams (10 ounces), 25 cm (10 in.) in length
- drink mother's milk for two months
- mother raises the young, at three months teaches kittens to hunt
- mother and kittens work together to catch rabbits and hares
- many kittens die if there are not enough hares to eat
- on their own next spring


- hunted by wolf, coyote and mountain lion
- kittens are attacked by large owls
- trapped for its beautiful fur
- hit by vehicles when crossing roads
- people destroy habitat (loggers, farmers)


- closely related to the bobcat
- differences between a lynx and a bobcat
- life span 15 years
- will travel up to 19 km in a day to hunt
- trapping is allowed in Canada, except for PEI, NS and NB
- limits set for trapping (when to trap and number allowed to trap)
- population is stable in Canada
- listed as threatened in 48 states in USA

lynx in the snow


photo credits :
Don Getty - Berkeley Digital Library Photo Collection
Erwin & Peggy Bauer, US Fish and Wildlife Service; photo library
worksheet at

2003 (updated 2011)

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