The Canada lynx may look like a slightly larger version of your housecat, but make no mistake — these boreal predators are ferocious! Canada lynx live in forested areas and make their dens underneath fallen trees, tree stumps, rock ledges or thick bushes. They are territorial animals, and males live alone most of the time. With big eyes and superior hearing, Canada lynx are excellent night hunters. But they are not fast runners, so they have to be sneaky when it comes to catching prey. Usually, they find a hiding spot and wait for prey to come near — then they pounce. Some lynx will sit still for hours to just to snatch a bite!
Snowshoe hares are the main source of food for Canada lynx. A hungry lynx might eat a whole hare for one meal, while others will eat some and hide the rest for later. When hares cannot be found, the lynx will prey on small mammals, birds and sometimes even large animals like caribou.
The Canada lynx has a short body, small tail and long legs. In winter, it sports a fur coat that is usually thick, long and grey. In summer, the coats are short, thin and light brown. Canada lynx look like they have wide faces, thanks to long patches of fur that grow like beards along their cheeks. They are most easily recognized by the black tips of their bobbed (short) tails and the long tufts on their triangle-shaped ears.
Fast Facts: Canada Lynx
Scientific name: Lynx Canadensis
Average weight: Approximately eight kilograms to 14 kilograms
Average length: Approximately 90 centimetres
Average lifespan: Up to 15 years in the wild
Canada lynx have large, thick-furred paws that act like snowshoes, which help it hunt during winter — but watch out for the claws!
Despite its long legs, the Canada lynx cannot run fast. It prefers to lie in wait for prey, then pounce.
The Canada lynx closely resembles its southern forest-dwelling relative, the bobcat, but the truth is in the tail. Lynx tails are completely black-tipped, while bobcat tails have a white ring below the black tip.
Did you know?
Snowshoe hares are such an important source of food for Canada lynx that when hare populations fall, so do the number of lynx. (The number of lynx also rises when hare populations bounce back.)