Lynx lynx lynx
Medium sized wildcat (18-21kg on average). Relative to its short body size, their legs are long and powerful with large, furred, “snowshoe” paws. Tail is also short with an all-black tip. The coat is very thick in the winter, reduced to being very short in the winter; quite an extreme seasonal transformation. Coat colour ranges from red to brown, with occasional grey or silver individuals.
Coat pattern can vary greatly, but almost all have a degree of dark spotting or patterns, even stretching onto the head and neck area. The underside fur is much paler (including the neck and chin).
Around the head, they have a prominent grey or white ruff framing their face, and their ears have the characteristic black tufts on the top, a key identifying feature of this species which helps with hearing. The Eurasian lynx is the largest species of lynx.
Like most cat species, lynx are solitary and very secretive. Lynx are nocturnal or crepuscular, normally sleeping during the day.
Use scent marks to communicate with other individuals nearby, and to mark out their hunting territories. Lynx are considered quite silent outside of the breeding season, but consist of mews, hisses, growls and purrs.
The Eurasian lynx was exterminated from the UK due to habitat loss and hunting around 1,300 years ago, and is still currently absent in the wild in the UK. However, organisations such as the Lynx UK Trust CIC aim to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx as part of a regulated scientific trial in Scotland and England. This is in the wake of successful reintroductions in other European countries.
Habitat loss and fragmentation coupled with prey species depletion are major causes for decline. Historically they were also hunted across their range for their fur. In Europe, due to their extensive population recovery since the 1950s, they are protected by CITES and the Bern convention.
Broad distribution, found throughout Europe, and down into central Asia. Their stronghold is through Scandinavia, Russia and Siberia.
Clearly seen from its broad distribution, Lynx have the ability to live in a wide variety of different habitats and climatic conditions. Normally associated with forested areas (both deciduous and mixed), can also be found in open wooded areas, thick scrub, barren rocky areas, and even semi deserts.
Predominantly feed on large mammals such as deer, but will hunt smaller animals such as rabbits, wild boar, squirrels and birds.
Did you know?
Europe’s third largest predator after brown bears and wolves.