Canada Lynx (Canadian Lynx)
Canada lynx also called the Canadian lynx is a mid-sized cat species ranging across northern parts of the United States, as well as Canada, and Alaska. With a well-developed body and long legs, its hind limbs being a touch longer than the forelimbs, the Canada lynx has a somewhat arched appearance. Similar to other lynx species, these predatory cats have long, dense fur, ruffed face, triangular ears tipped with tufts of hair, and a short, thick tail.
|Scientific Name||Lynx canadensis|
|Similar Species||Bobcat, Iberian Lynx, Eurasian Lynx|
|Other Names||North American Lynx, Arctic Lynx, Lynx du Canada (French), Lince del Canada (Spanish)|
|Size||Head-body length: 31-39 in (80-100 cm)
Height at the shoulder: 19-22 in (48-56 cm)
|Weight||11-40 lb (5-18 kg)|
|Color||Reddish brown/grayish coat in summer but silvery/buff gray in winter; black hair tufts, some mottled, dark spots on the underbelly; dark rings on the tail, which is black at the tip|
|Distribution||From Canadian Arctic treeline, through much of Canada, mainland Alaska, into some northern territories of the contiguous USA|
|Habitat||Cool, moist boreal coniferous forests|
|Lifespan||About 14 years in captivity|
|Diet||Carnivorous; primarily feeds on snowshoe hares; during scarcity of hares, preys on moles, red squirrels, ducks, grouse, voles, ptarmigan, reindeer, mule deer, and Dall’s sheep|
|Sounds||Growls, screams or yowls, and calls to communicate with kittens|
|Adaptations||The black ear tufts enhance its excellent hearing; its long canines are laced with nerves that help it in sensing the position of bite while catching prey; the four carnassials facilitate in cutting meat into pieces; broad paws with widely spaced metatarsals allow it to run easily and swiftly on the snow|
|Size of litter||1-4 kittens; larger litters are possible with abundance in prey|
|Weight at birth||6.2-8.3 oz (175-235 g)|
|Gestation Period||64 days|
|Predators/Competition||Wolves, coyotes, cougars|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Least Concern|
|Why is it endangered||Habitat destruction, illegal hunting for fur, climate change, increase in snowmobile traffic|
Canadian lynxes are solitary animals, engaging in social interaction only during the breeding season. Primarily active at night, these lynxes can travel 8-9 km every day in search of prey, covering the distance at a fair pace of 0.75-1.46 km/h.
Although they are excellent climbers and can easily evade large predators by climbing up on trees, they prefer to hunt on land. The prey is either eaten immediately or cached in leaves or snow. They sometimes scavenge on ungulates that have died in the cold.
Mating and Reproduction
The Canadian lynx breeds during March-May, its mating season lasting only a month. During this period, the female enters its estrus once, which lasts for 3-5 days. After spraying urine where a male has already marked its territory, the female gives repeated mating calls to attract the male. A female lynx will have only one mate each season whereas a male may have multiple breeding partners. The female gives birth in May/June after it has prepared its maternal den in thick bush, woody debris, or inside dense shrubs.
The lynx kittens are born blind and helpless, and they remain so until 14 days after birth. They are introduced to adult diet by their mother at 12 weeks. While having food, the baby lynxes play and practice their hunting skills. They start hunting on their own at 7-9 months of age and leave their mother at 10 months when the next mating season begins. Although the female lynxes become sexually matured at 10 months, they delay breeding for the next year. On the other hand, the males attain maturity at 2-3 years.
- The Canadian lynx is a great swimmer, as it has been reported to swim several kilometers across the Yukon River.
- They exhibit a reproductive flexibility, as the females do not mate when there is food scarcity, especially when fewer snowshoe hares are available.
- Starting in 1999, the population of wild lynxes has been effectively reintroduced into Colorado.