Brief SummaryRead full entry
Four species belong to genus Lynx, medium-sized wildcats in the cat family Felidae: the Eurasian lynx (L. lynx), the Canada lynx (L. canadensis), the Iberian lynx (L. pardinus), and the bobcat (L. rufus). Other cats are commonly called lynx (for e.g. Caracal caracal, the desert or African lynx, or caracal, and Felis chaus, the swamp lynx or jungle cat) but do not belong to the Lynx genus.
Lynx have short tails and the characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears. They have a somewhat hidden black-barred ruff under the neck, large, padded paws for walking on snow, and long whiskers on the face. Their fur color varies from brown to beige with some brown markings on the limbs and white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs. Fur coloring, fur height and paw size varies by climate range; in colder northern climates, lynx tend to have progressively thicker and lighter-colored fur, and larger, more padded paws. The smallest of the lynx (bobcats) grow to between 7.3 to 14 kilograms (16 to 31 lb), and the largest (the Eurasian lynx) reach18 to 30 kilograms (40 to 66 lb).
Lynx inhabit high altitude boreal forests with dense cover of shrubs, reeds, and tall grass and northern taiga. Bobcats also live in temperate forests, swamp and desert scrublands. Although they hunt mainly on the ground, lynx can climb trees and can swim.
Lynx are usually solitary, living in dens in crevices or under ledges. Mating occurs in late winter and females give birth to between two and four kittens after a gestation of about 70 days. The young stay with the mother for one more winter, a total of around nine months, before moving out to live on their own as young adults. The large, Eurasian lynx feed primarily on ungulates though also prey on a wide range of animals such as hares, birds, foxes, squirrels, sheep goats, and rodents. Bobcats also prey on ungulates to some degree. The other lynx species are specialists on hares and rabbits; the Iberian lynx, which is critically endangered and limited to just a few small, isolated populations in southwest Spain, feeds exclusively on rabbits, numbers of which are declining, one negative affect on L. pardinus populations. Northern populations of Canada lynx are well-known for their regular 10-year population cycles which follow those of its prey, the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus).
American lynx species have managed harvests for their fur; trade in Eurasian lynx has stopped although illegal skin trade is one of the greatest threats to this species.
(Wikipedia 2014; Breitenmoser et al. 2008; Kelly et al 2008; Nowell 2008, O’Brien and Johnson 2005; Von Arx and Breitenmoser 2008)