The Canada lynx also known as the North American lynx is a lynx species native to North America.
The average lifespan for Canada lynx is from 10 to 14 years in the wild, while in captivity individuals may live up to 26 years.
The Canada lynx is a medium-sized cat, similar in many ways to the bobcat.
This lynx is between 80 and 100 centimetres (31 and 39 in) in head-and-body length, stands from 48 to 56 centimetres (19 to 22 in) tall at the shoulder and weighs from 5 to 18 kilograms (11 to 40 lb).
It has extremely thick, light brown or gray fur with light black spots. Features unique to the Canadian lynx include a black tail tip and huge paws with long, thick fur to keep the cat’s toes warm in the winter. It can spread its toes out wide like snowshoes for walking in soft snow. Black hair tufts (4 centimetres (1.6 in) long), a feature common to all lynxes, emerge from the tips of the ears, which are lined with black.
It is mainly a solitary animal. They only travel in pairs during the mating season or in small groups when the kittens follow their mother during their first year.
The Canada lynx tends to be nocturnal. During the day, they usually hide and sleep in secluded haunts such as rock crevices, caves, or thick tangles of fallen trees and brush.
Like all cats, the Canadian lynx has exceptional night vision, thanks to a layer of mirror-like cells in their eyes.
Not an especially good runner except over short distances, the lynx stalks or ambushes its prey at close range.
More than 75 percent of the lynx’s diet in winter is snowshoe hares, and when they are abundant a lynx may kill one hare every one or two days. In summer the lynx’s diet is more varied. But even in summer hares remain the main prey, supplemented by grouse, voles, mice, squirrels, foxes and young ungulates (Dall’s sheep, mule deer and caribou).
The Canada lynx can cover 8-9 kilometres (5–5.6 mi) every day to procure prey.
Canada Lynx are good swimmers; one account records a lynx swimming two miles across the Yukon River.
They are efficient climbers, and will dodge predators by climbing high up on trees; however, they hunt only on land.
The lynx has a variety of vocalizations – it can produce cat-like meows, purrs and hisses.
The breeding season in Canada lynx occurs during February or March each year. Gestation lasts around 2 months. Litters comprise 1 to 4 kittens, and tend to be much larger when prey is abundant. Kittens leave the den after about five weeks, and begin hunting at between seven and nine months of age. They leave the mother at around ten months, as the next breeding season begins, but do not reach the full adult size until around two years old.
Some populations were almost driven to extinction during the 1950s and 60s, when demand for cat furs was at its peak.
Lynx are still hunted today, but protection measures and a decreasing demand for furs are helping the species.
The Canada lynx has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002.
The name “lynx” originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- (“light, brightness”) in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.