photo - Lynx at the Louisville Zoo, grey, brown, black marbled fur, black feather like tip on ears, yellow eyes, sitting in a tree, observing what's out there

Lynx, Canada

Lynx canadensis
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae

Alaska, Canada and Northern United States

Forested and mountainous regions. Canada Lynx live mainly in boreal forests or in mixed deciduous/boreal woodlands. Can be found in mountainous regions with appropriate habitat.

Head to Rump: 33 – 43 inches
Tail length: 2 – 5 inches.
Weight: Males, 20 – 30 pounds. and Females, 18 – 24 pounds.
The usual background color of the fur is a silvery grey or grey brown, but can vary to yellowish‑grey and rusty or reddish‑brown. The fur is usually white tipped, giving the animal a frosted appearance.


  • Mating occurs in late winter to early spring in most areas (March – April)
  • One to six kittens are born after a gestation period of 63 – 70 days.
  • The young remain with the adult female until the following winter mating season.
  • Life expectancy for animals in Nature has been recorded at 15 years.

Wild: Their main prey species is the Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), but will also prey on small mammals to larger animals such as deer (caught in deep snow), birds.
Zoo: Feline diet, mice, chicks, smelt


  • Are solitary animals by nature.
  • Very territorial
  • Most active in the early morning and late afternoon; sleep mid-day and at night.
  • Lynx are mainly terrestrial and nocturnal, although they may also hunt during the day if prey is scarce.
  • Lynx are thought to hunt mainly by sight and hearing, relying on smell to a lesser extent.
  • They usually stalk their prey to within a few bounds before pouncing, but they are also known to wait in ambush for hours.
  • Acts as a sanitation crew; feed on sick, weak animals. Removes ailing individuals from the breeding stock and benefits health of prey animals as a whole.


  • Lynx is a medium-sized cat with a short tail, long legs, a beard, and tapered ears with tufts.
  • Lynx have been recorded travelling long distances, up to 1,200 km, seeking out patches of hare abundance.
  • Canada Lynx Lynx canadensis are the most common and widespread feline in Canada. They are easily recognizable cats with their black ear tufts, flared facial ruff, and very short tail.
  • Compared to the Bobcat, Lynx rufus, the Lynx has longer legs and broader footpads for walking in deep snow.
  • The ears have long, erect tufts of dark hairs, and black backsides towards the tip. These tufts are just as sensitive as their whiskers, and the slightest breath of wind can be detected by the cat.
  • In the northern parts of their range, lynx populations undergo dramatic fluctuations roughly every ten years. These population fluctuations follow the regular cycles of population increase and decline of their primary prey, the Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus).

Least Concern, LC (IUCN)
In 2000, lynx were federally listed as Threatened, under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 14 States due to inadequate protection of habitat on Federal lands.