The Eurasian lynx is a lynx species native to Europe and Asia.
It is found in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe to Central Asia and Siberia, the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas.
The Eurasian lynx is one of the most widely distributed cat species.
It inhabits temperate and boreal forests up to an altitude of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet).
The average lifespan for Canada lynx is up to 17 years in the wild, and up to 24 in captivity.
The Eurasian lynx is the largest member of the genus and Europe’s third largest predator ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (31 to 51 in) and standing 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) at the shoulder. The tail measures 11 to 24.5 cm (4.3 to 9.6 in) in length. On average, males weigh 21 kg (46 lb) and females weigh 18 kg (40 lb).
The Eurasian lynx has a relatively short, reddish or brown coat, which tends to be more brightly coloured in animals living at the southern end of its range.
In winter, however, this is replaced by a much thicker coat of silky fur that varies from silver-grey to greyish brown.
The underparts of the animal, including the neck and chin, are white at all times of the year.
The fur is almost always marked with black spots, although the number and pattern of these are highly variable.
The lynx is known by the tuft of black hair on the tips of its ears and its short or bobbed tail.
The paws are large and fur-covered, which helps them to navigate in deep snow.
Although they may hunt during the day when food is scarce, the Eurasian lynx is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, and spends the day sleeping in dense thickets or other places of concealment.
The Eurasian lynx can travel up to 20 km (12 miles) during one night, although about half this distance is more typical.
They are mainly terrestrial but are adept at climbing and swimming.
Eurasian lynx makes a range of vocalizations, but is generally silent outside of the breeding season. They have been observed to mew, hiss, growl, and purr, and, like domestic cats, will “chatter” at prey that is just out of reach. Mating calls are much louder, consisting of deep growls in the male, and loud “meow-like” sounds in the female.
Eurasian lynx are secretive, and because the sounds they make are very quiet and seldom heard, their presence in an area may go unnoticed for years. Remnants of prey or tracks on snow are usually observed long before the animal is seen.
It is solitarily animal. As solitary creatures, the only long lasting relationship formed in Eurasian lynx is between mother and cubs.
The mating season of the Eurasian lynx lasts from January to April. Gestation lasts from 67 to 74 days. Typically 2 to 3 cubs comprise a litter, although litter size can range from 1 to 5 kittens. At birth, Eurasian lynx kittens weigh 240 to 430 g (8.5 to 15.2 oz) and open after ten to twelve days. They initially have plain, greyish-brown fur, attaining the full adult colouration around eleven weeks of age. They begin to take solid food at six to seven weeks, when they begin to leave the den, but are not fully weaned for five or six months.
The name “lynx” originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- meaning – “light, brightness” – in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.
A lynx’s keen vision earns this cat legendary status in the myths of many cultures. In Greek, Norse, and North American myths, the lynx sees what others can’t, and its role is revealing hidden truths.
During the 1970s and ’80s thousands of Eurasian lynx furs and skins were systematically harvested and exported by Russia and China.
Although this threat has declined significantly with the implementation of strict fur-export regulations, the species continues to be harvested by poachers.
Ecologists also note that habitat loss and population declines among its prey may be causing populations of Eurasian lynx to decrease in some parts of their range.
Because of its wide distribution, it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008.