Stunning Canadian Lynx – 10 Amazing Facts to Know

Canadian lynx

Do you also find the wilderness as intriguing as me? If yes, I have some amazing facts about the Canadian lynx that will leave you in awe!

Canadian lynx is a bigger version of a bobcat and a house cat but with certain distinct features.

These are wild cats with distinctive black ear tufts, beard-like white facial ruff, and a short black-tipped tail, and the Canadian lynx can be identified in a single look.

They are frequently referred to as “grey ghosts” and are pretty evasive when it comes to interacting with people.

Stunning Canadian Lynx – 10 Amazing Facts to Know!

There are four species of lynx, each of which is both similar to and distinct from the others. Bobcat is common in southern Canada, Northern Mexico, and Continental USA, whereas Canadian lynx is limited to Northern Canada and Alaska.

Eurasian lynx is distributed across Europe, Russia, and Central Asia through Pakistan and the Northern part of India.

In contrast, the Iberian lynx is found in South West Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. The elusive Canadian Lynx is named Linxcanadensis, Lucivvee, and Indian devil by the Maine woodworkers.

Although lynx is the most common cat in size, lynx appear more pronounced despite having shorter tails and more extended ear.

The distinguishing characteristic of lynxes is their unusually long, dense snouts, which help them easily navigate the snow, the lynx and the bobcat both have black hair and short, black tails.

1. Appearance

In appearance, the Canadian lynx is smaller than other lynx species and looks more like a housecat.

The fur coat is thick, and its color varies from brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge, to grey. The tip of the fur is white, giving the Lynx a frosty look.

It is exceedingly challenging to recognize because of the white-tipped fur coat’s camouflaging properties. A blue-coated lynx is a rare one, an outcome of genetic mutation.

The tongue is like a typical cat, bristly with hook-shaped features that help them groom and drink water.

Canadian Lynx
                  Photo by David Selbert, on Pexels

The Canadian lynx has large feet with dense fur for an agile cat. They can move across snow since their back legs are longer than their front legs.

Even though they have long legs, they cannon run fast and prefer to wait for their prey or sneak around it and pounce. Their ears are covered in large, sound-sensitive tufts of hair. Each ear can be moved in a semi-circle.

The traces of a Canada lynx are frequently larger than those of a bobcat; thicker fur may obscure the toe pads in the snow.

Lynx tracks are 76–95 mm (3–3.75 in) long and 89–114 mm (3.5–4.5 in) wide in soil but larger 110 mm (4.5 in) long and 130 mm (5 in) wide in snow).

The winter pelage of this lynx is dense and has a rough appearance of greyish-brown mixed with buff or pale grey fur and greyish-white or buff-white fur on the belly leg and foot.

Adult males average ten kg (22 pounds) in weight and 83 cm (35 ft.), and females average 8 kg (23 pounds) and 80 cm. Long legs with wide footing make this lynx highly suitable for hunting in deep snow.

2. The Behavior of the Canadian Lynx

Canada lynx are nocturnal and solitary hunters, and except for the breeding season, they are very silent.

They usually hunt and feed alone, but for a brief time during mating season, they hunt with their kittens to help them learn and survive.

Canada lynx have outstanding eyesight that allows them to see prey up to 250 feet away at night.

Though they are termed as nocturnal, they are active during the day as well, and hunting is done primarily at night. Canada lynx depend on their sight and hearing to hunt, sense of smell is less practical.

In the wild, they can survive for 10 to 20 years, but in captivity, it has been recorded in a study to be up to 26 years.

The lynx defends itself using its teeth, claws, speed, strong senses, and camouflage. Lynx communicate with their eyes, hearing, and noses. 

They’re big cats that hunt and consume big prey, which is inefficient for humans to procreate considering the lynx’s size and how much food they have to eat daily.

Lynxes aren’t friendly either, and they are challenging to domesticate since they are both hostile and extremely dangerous.

Many animals hibernate or migrate to warmer climes throughout the winter, but Canadian lynxes are uniquely suited to withstand low temperatures.

Aside from a thick winter coat, the lynx possesses large, padded, hairy paws that act like snowshoes to assist the big cat in enduring harsh winter circumstances.

Canada lynxes on the periphery of a population may have more difficulty reproducing with lynxes in the centre of the population and hence exhibit poorer genetic variety due to their lower numbers and propensity to isolation from the central population by natural barriers like rivers.

However, Canada lynxes have been observed dispersing over huge distances, frequently thousands of kilometres, which may increase genetic variability in far-separated groups.

They frequently move between regions with comparable prey availability and snow qualities, such as how deeply their feet sink into the snow and how hard it is; in areas with soft snow, individuals may spread out over smaller areas.

3. Is a Canadian Lynx a Bobcat?

The bobcat and the lynx are very similar genetically or evolutionally in nature. It’s also possible to list some distinctive features of the bobcat that are unknown in other lynx groups. 

Photo by Grindstone Media Group from Shutterstock

Some refer to a bobcat as the spitfire of the animal kingdom because it appears fearless and will not back down from a confrontation.

The hybrid offspring of the Canadian Lynx and the Bobcat is called lynx or lynx cat.

This hybrid’s face resembles that of a bobcat, either with or without distinguishing features. Unlike many hybrids, the lynx has been observed to produce viable babies on its own.

A bobcat’s tail tip has a black patch on top and is white underneath; the tail will typically have multiple black stripes.

A bobcat’s tail is often longer than a lynx’s, yet they both have a short tail that immediately distinguishes them from any other wild cat.

4. Distribution and Habitat

Canadian lynx populations heavily depend on snowshoe hare numbers. There are only a few states in the lower 48 where lynx can be found, including Washington, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, and Maine.

They flourish in overgrown pastures, ancient fields, weedy meadows, shrubby tangles, and young woodlands.

Canada lynx needs space, and usually, a lynx live where acres of land is undisturbed with dense vegetation or coniferous forests. 

Lynxes are found in Alaskan boreal forests as well as in Canada. The boreal forest is a snow forest, also known as Taiga. 

The southern part of their range was extended initially throughout the United States, the Rockies, Lakes States, and the Northeast. Today, lynx is native to southeastern Washington, Maine, and the U.S. and are reintroduced in Colorado. 

Lynx can be found in extreme cold weather in the United States, especially in snowy or moist coniferous woody areas, and also abundant in snowshoe hares.

The dominant vegetation type occupied is the subalpine fir zone, characterized by spruce-fir, douglas fir, and seral lodgepole pine cover types.

Cedar-hemlock woods could also be significant. Denning, escape, and protection from foul weather are all possible in mature forests with downed logs and windfalls.

Large populations of snowshoe hares forage on lynx in landscapes with a diversity of forest age classes and cover types.

Snowshoe hare populations may receive herbaceous summer food from recent smoulders and chopping units, whereas populations of winter snowshoe hares receive woody browse from older, regenerating burns and cutting units.

Lynx have a competitive edge in cold, dry snow conditions because of their long legs and enormous feet, which behave as snowshoes.

Photo by picture guy on Unlimphotos

5. Is It Unusual to Come Across a Canadian Lynx?

A stable population exists within their northern range. In the southeast of North America, Canadian lynxes are few and under protection.

The animal is considered regionally endangered in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and New York, where scientists report fertile hybrids of the Bobcat and Canada Lynx.

Canadian Lynx
Photo by Scalia Media from Shutterstock

Lynx are widespread in the vast boreal forests, particularly in the north; they are found in numerous in Alaska.

These Lynx are among the most populous cats in the world, and under the right circumstances, they can multiply by three in a single year.

6. How Many Canadian Lynx Are Left?

Currently, biologists estimate an isolated population of Canadian lynx is confined to Washington.

Today, the lynx habitat has been severely disrupted due to excessive logging, road construction, and development.

Snowmobile trails and roads are an issue for Lynx because they provide high-country access to cougar, also coyotes who can consume lynx, and the competitor of lynx, the bobcats.

7. Food Habit and Diet

As their main prey, snowshoe hares are extremely important to Canada lynx. If there is scarcity, the lynx turns to other animals, small mammals, rodents, grouse, or even caribou.

The lynx populations and the hare populations are interlinked and directly proportional. The snowshoe hare has become experts in eluding Canadian lynx, whereas the Lynx have become specialized in hunting them.

The snowshoe hare cycle changes every ten years from being abundant to being scarce; a fully grown Canadian lynx depends on other smaller animals.

However, the smaller kittens do not survive. Snowshoe hares account for 75% of the lynx species’ diet. The Canada lynx Southern population’s diet is a bit varied and includes grouse, smaller mammals, young ungulates, and squirrels.

The Canadian lynx grows less fussy in the summer and fall, consuming small mammals in addition to hares.

The reason for this is unknown; it could be related to a greater abundance of alternative prey or a lower success rate in hunting hares.

When hares were scarce, a study in Alaska found that lynxes contributed to the loss of red fox, caribou, and Dall’s sheep numbers.

They have also been observed eating succulents, sedges, and grasses on occasion. 

8. Reproduction and Breeding

One brood is born each year and a female lynx enters estrus (the situation of being open to breeding) once a year.

An 8 to 10-week gestation period follows mating, usually occurring around February and April. Females give birth in logs, stumps, clumps of lumber, or other tangled tangles of roots and branches.

Canadian Lynx
Photo by Kelly Gottermeyer from Shutterstock

Male Lynx are more aggressive in their search for their mate. After an average gestation period of 30 days, the female adult lynx lays out the kitten in May.

Lynx produce litter from one to six kittens in a dense den of depression beneath thick young trees of pine or soaring logs.

Lynx weighs around seven ounces when she is born (200 grams). The small ones will depend on their mother’s milk for as long as five months, but at the same time will start devouring meat at an early age even in a month of birth.

Young remain with their moms from July to August but will live with their mothers until spring.

For a length of time, siblings may remain close. In contrast to males, who mature sexually at 33 months, females do so at 21 months.

9. Endangerment and Conservation

Lynx is one of North America’s most endangered felines, with only a few hundred animals thought to survive in the lower 48 states or the Contiguous United States. Canadian Lynx

                  Photo by Federico Di Dio photography on Unsplash

Maine presently is the only state in the Northeast with resident breeding populations. Although lynx is more prevalent in western and northern Maine, they have begun to spread eastward.

Lynx, including the south edge of a more significant lynx population, runs through Québec and New Brunswick.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Canadian lynx to be officially endangered. But it hadn’t been known until recently, peaking in Maine.

Because they are such large predators, lynxes don’t have many predators, but wolves, fishers, bobcats, and coyotes have killed them.

A significant threat to the Canadian lynx is habitat loss and deforestation. The Lynx is classified as threatened under the federally endangered species act in some of the lower US states.

Climate change threatens the Canada lynx in particular. For this species to continue to have an edge over other predators, it needs a habitat at high altitudes with severe, snowy winters that last at least four months.

In the northeastern United States, fishermen are rumored to occasionally hunt Canada lynxes; a study in northern Maine discovered that fisher predation was the main reason for Canada lynx demise for more than ten years.

However, it never seemed to influence the development of the lynx numbers.

The snowfall and woodlands that lynx depends on are anticipated to move higher in elevation and northward in latitude as temperatures rise due to climate change.

Current lynx populations are likely to become more separated as their habitat goes upward in height.

Thus, maintaining habitat at higher elevations and crucial corridors connecting those places is critical to protecting the current Canada lynx habitat and ensuring the species’ long-term survival.

The Endangered Species Coalition and its affiliates are doing a lot of effort to realize this objective.

The Pacific Northwest’s Loomis Forest was successfully protected in 1999 as the Loomis Natural Resources Conservation Area, allowing the Canada lynx to flourish and regenerate there. 

Despite having a dangerously low population, the Canadian lynx eventually received protection under the Endangered Species Act and was listed as endangered in Washington in 2000.

10. Why Is the Canadian Lynx Going Extinct?

Canadian lynx numbers have been declining for the last several years due to over-trapping, habitat degradation, fire and logging.

Over-trapping in the 1980s resulted in significant population losses in Lynx. Habitat fragmentation caused by development and urbanization, as well as fire suppression and various forest management methods, can diminish habitat appropriateness.

Wildlife hunting and loss of habitat are the Canada lynx’s two main threats. Even though the population has benefited from the prohibition on the legitimate international fur trade, illegal hunting remains a significant danger.

In the past, the species was regarded as both a desirable hunting trophy and a nuisance.

Photo by picture guy on Unlimphotos


At present, Canadian Lynx are not extinct, but for a brief period, they were of threatened species.

Snow, habitat, rabbits, and connectivity between territories are some of the important needs of the Lynx species.

Canadian Lynx
Photo by Canon Boy from Shutterstock

It is now challenged by environmental issues and human-induced activities. Increasing temperatures, reduced snowfall, early snowmelt, and fewer snow-covered days caused by climate change have significant consequences for Lynx and their prey, snowshoe hares.

So, these were the 10 amazing facts on the Canadian lynx, we hope you had fun!


1. Can you keep a pet Canadian lynx?

A focused lifespan of about 20 years in captivity is part of an expensive, and frequently unlawful, private ownership of the Canada Lynx.

2. Is seeing a Canadian lynx unusual?

The Canada lynx is rarely observed in the wild because it prefers to keep to itself and is most active at night.

3. Is Canada lynx a large cat?

No, but they sure are bigger than your domestic cats. Long, dense fur, triangular ears with black tufts at the tips, and broad, snowshoe-like paws are the distinguishing features of this medium-sized cat.

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