A Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) photographed at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio
A Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) photographed at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Lynx

Common Name:
Lynx
Scientific Name:
Lynx
Type:
Mammals
Diet:
Carnivore
Size:
Head and body: 32 to 40 inches; tail: 4 to 8 inches
Weight:
22 to 44 pounds

The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts the remote northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during frigid winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

Hunting and Population

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.

There are several species of lynx. Few survive in Europe but those that do, like their Asian relatives, are typically larger than their North American counterpart, the Canada lynx.

All lynx are skilled hunters that make use of great hearing (the tufts on their ears are a hearing aid) and eyesight so strong that a lynx can spot a mouse 250 feet away.

Canada lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years. Bigger Eurasian lynx hunt deer and other larger prey in addition to small animals.

Breeding and Conservation

Lynx mate in early spring or late winter. About two months later, females give birth to a litter of one to four young.

Humans sometimes hunt lynx for their beautiful fur. One endangered population, the Iberian lynx, struggles to survive in the mountains of Spain, far from the cold northern forests where most lynx live.

This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
This photo was submitted to Your Shot, our photo community on Instagram. Follow us on Instagram at @natgeoyourshot or visit us at natgeo.com/yourshot for the latest submissions and news about the community.
Photograph by Jonathan Cleave, National Geographic Your Shot

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