Eurasian Lynx (lynx lynx) Species DescriptionAlso known as; common lynx, European lynx, Northern European lynx, Southern European lynx, Russian lynx, Siberian lynx, Baikal/Irkutsk lynx, Mongolian lynx
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Long legged with huge, snowshoe-like webbed paws to keep them an effective and fast predator even in deep snow, they have a distinctive ruff of hair around their face and neck and a short tail typically around 8 inches long; this is always black tipped, just like the small tufts of black hair on each ear which improves their hearing. The coat is thick, dense and double layered for protection against cold weather.
Greatly varied in size Eurasian lynx tend to be between 80 to 130 cm length and up to 70cm at the shoulder, generally weighing 18 to 40kg.
As with most cats they are solitary except for breeding season, however males and females overlap territories and carry out some form of communication through scent marks left around their borders. Territories vary hugely depending on density of prey species, some territories are just 20km2, some are over 400km2.
Lynx make an unusual range of vocalisations through breeding season; growls, coughs, grunts and meow-like caterwauling, the rest of the time they are very quiet but will mew, hiss, growl, purr and chatter at out of reach prey just as pet cats do.
The preferred hunting technique is to stalk and pounce on prey utilising the dense cover of their preferred forested habitats, ambush hunting is occasionally used as well. As all felines, Eurasian lynx are a highly efficient hunter, quickly bringing down prey with weight, momentum, agility and claws, then killing by choking at the throat or suffocating at the mouth and nose. They are an exceptionally powerful hunter even amongst cats, with the ability to bring down prey four times their own size.
Through scent marks and vocalisations females will broadcast their availability for breeding to males in neighbouring territories who will then seek them out.
Pregnant females find a secluded den and line it with feathers, fur and grasses for warmth and comfort, usually having 2-3 kittens after a 2 month gestation period. Kittens are born blind and helpless, but by 6 weeks are eating solid food and ready to leave the den. They are fully weaned by 6 months and become independent around 10 months, usually breeding for the first time at 2-3 years of age. Eurasian lynx can live to over 20 in captivity, but usually just to their teens in the wild.
Natural threats are few, occasionally wolverines will kill lynx defending their young, and wolves will opportunistically kill them.
Lynx are protected by CITES and the Bern Convention having recovered from a population low of just 700 in Europe in the 1950s.
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