Like other members of the family Felidae, Eurasian lynx are strict carnivores, consuming only meat. Other Lynx species are specialized Leporidae hunters. Eurasian lynx prey primarily on Ungulata. Small ungulates such as roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), musk deer (g. Moschus species) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) comprise most of their diet, but they have been known to prey on ungulates as large as Alces alces and Rangifer tarandus in winter due to the prey’s vulnerability in deep snow. Eurasian lynx also supplement their diet with Vulpes vulpes, Leporidae, Rodentia and birds. They kill prey up to 3 to 4 times their size and consume 1 to 2 kg of meat per day. Eurasian lynx stalk their prey from the cover of thick vegetation, using stealth to get close without being seen. They then pounce on prey, delivering a fatal bite to the neck or biting down on the snout until the animal suffocates. The kill is then taken to thick cover or fallen logs to be eaten in privacy. Prey that is not eaten right away is cached to be consumed later. ("Eurasian Lynx Online Information System for Europe", 2007; "IUCN RED LIST", 2009; "WWF", 2009a; "WWF", 2009b; Schmidt et al., 2009; Schmidt, 2008)
Eurasian lynx occur sympatrically with three other large predators throughout most of their range: Canis lupus, Ursus arctos, and Gulo gulo. Brown bears are mainly omnivorous and don't compete strongly with lynx for prey. Where wolves and and Eurasian lynx co-occur, they generally coexist peacefully with neither of the two showing avoidance or attraction. This has been attributed to differences in primary prey selection and hunting styles. Canis lupus are larger than Eurasian lynx and primarily hunt Cervus elaphus, while Eurasian lynx focus on Capreolus and smaller ungulates. Eurasian lynx are solitary hunters, concealing themselves in thick vegetation, fallen logs, and snow to ambush prey. Conversely, Canis lupus are pack hunters and found in a wider variety of habitats. Competition between these species may occur in areas where Capreolus, Cervus elaphus, or other ungulate prey is scarce. This may cause changes in hunting behavior and has contributed to sporadic intraguild predation of Eurasian lynx by Canis lupus. (Schmidt et al., 2009; Schmidt, 2008)
Animal Foods: Birds; Mammals
Foraging Behavior: Stores or caches food
- Schmidt, K., W. Jedrzejewski, H. Okarma, R. Kowalczyk. 2009. Spatial interactions between grey wolves and Eurasian lynx in Białowie_za Primeval Forest, Poland. Ecology Research, 24: 207-214.
- Schmidt, K. 2008. Factors shaping the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) population in the northeastern Poland. Na t u r e C o n s e r v a t i o n, 65: 3-15.