Profile by Phil Crosby
|Eurasian lynx photographed at Dundee by Jim Black|
The Lynx is a distinctive looking cat, which is readily identified by its short tail. There are four species, the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), the Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis),the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the Bobcat or Red Lynx (Lynx rufus). Of these the Eurasian was resident in Britain until historic times (and some believe it may never have become completely extinct), the Canadian is a cat which may have been released into the wild either accidentally or deliberately. The Iberian Lynx is perhaps the rarest big cat species in the world, numbering fewer than 500 in the wild, and as such is unlikely to be encountered in the UK.
Eurasian lynx live for up to 17 years in the wild and up to 24 years in captivity.
Body length: 80-100 cm, Tail length: 15-25 cm, Shoulder height: 15-75 cm, Weight: male: 21.6 kg, female: 18.1 kg. Eurasian lynx are the largest of the lynx family.
Lynx have stout bodies, long legs, large feet and stubby tails. Their fur is soft and thick - usually a shade of yellow or greyish brown with faint lines or spots. They often have long hair around the neck and under the chin. They have fur on their feet which has a snowshoe effect in deep snow. Lynx have distinctive tufts of black hair at the tip of the ears.
Eurasian lynx are found in areas of Asia and parts of Europe, especially in Swiss forests. They have one of the widest ranges of all cat species.
Lynx live in forested, mountainous areas, away from human populations.
Their main prey are small ungulates such as musk deer, chamois and roe deer, but when favoured prey are scarce they will also hunt small hares, woodchucks and foxes.
Lynx are shy and solitary, except for mothers with cubs. They mark their territories by urinating on trees and rocks. Male territories can overlap several female territories. Females usually have one mate per season, but males may have more than one.
Lynx are active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular). They stay active in winter and their fur becomes thicker and paler. In extreme weather, they take shelter in caves or trees.
Lynx bury any uneaten prey and return the next day to finish it off. They kill prey by biting its neck and severing the spinal cord or suffocating the victim
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