lynx, name given to several related small, ferocious members of the cat family. All have small heads, tufted ears, and heavy bodies with long legs and short tails. All are primarily terrestrial, although they are able to climb trees. The northern lynx, Felis lynx, is found in coniferous forests of N North America and N Eurasia. As a result of hunting by humans and the general deforestation of Europe, the northern lynx is now very restricted in its European range and may be extinct in W Europe. The North American variety of the northern lynx, similar in size and appearance to its Old World counterpart, is also known as the Canada lynx; it ranges from the northern limits of the Canadian forests to the extreme N United States. The Canada lynx may attain a length of more than 3 ft (90 cm), with a 5-in. (13-cm) tail, and may weigh up to 40 lb (18 kg). Its long fur is yellow-brown to grayish, slightly spotted with black. It has long black ear tufts and large feet, adapted to moving on deep snow. A nocturnal hunter, it preys on a variety of game, sometimes as large as deer, but is particularly dependent on the snowshoe rabbit as its staple diet. The Canada lynx population fluctuates in cycles correlated with the fluctuation of the snowshoe rabbit population. Efforts have been made to return the lynx to parts of its former range in the United States (Colorado) and in Europe.

The bobcat, F. rufus, also known as bay lynx or wildcat, is a small North American lynx found in thickets, swamps, and rocky areas from the S of Canada to central Mexico. It has a longer tail, shorter ear tufts, and smaller feet than the Canada lynx; its coat is a redder brown and more spotted. It commonly weighs about 20 lb (9 kg), although some individuals grow much larger. It lives on a variety of small and medium-sized prey; its raids on livestock and poultry have made it a target of farmers.

The Spanish lynx, F. pardina, which once ranged over the Iberian Peninsula, is now found only in small areas in S Spain, where its population numbers about 1,000 to 1,500. The jungle cat, F. chaus, is a lynx of N Africa and Asia, found as far E as Indochina. It lives in a variety of habitats, especially open woodlands and scrub. The caracal, or African lynx, F. caracal, is found in dry country in Africa and W Asia.

Lynxes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.

A lynx is any of four medium-sized wild cats. All are members of the genus Lynx, but there is considerable confusion about the best way to classify felids at present, and some authorities classify them as part of the genus Felis. The Caracal, despite sometimes being called Persian Lynx or African Lynx, does not belong to this genus.


Lynx have short tails and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tip of the ears. They have a ruff under the neck, which has black bars (not very visible), resembling a bow tie. They have large paws padded for walking on snow and long whiskers on the face. The body color varies from light brown to grey; and occasionally, is marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs.


Lynx are usually solitary, although a small group of lynx may travel and hunt together. Mating takes place in the late winter and they give birth to 2 to 4 kittens once a year. The young stay with the mother for one more winter; and then, the young adults can live on their own. Lynx will have their dens in crevices or under ledges. They feed on a wide range of animals from Reindeer, Roe Deer, small Red Deer, and Chamois, to smaller, more usual prey: birds, and small mammals, like snowshoe hares, fish, sheep, and goats.

See also


External links

Search another word or see Lynxon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature