Lynx are medium sized wildcats (18-21kg on average). Relative to its short body size, their legs are long and powerful with large, furred, “snowshoe” paws. Their 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.
Theron & Lorcan
Theron and Lorcan are brothers from the same litter. It is easy to tell them apart; Lorcan has sandy coloured fur and Theron has spotted fur. The name Lorcan means ‘little fierce one’ and the name Theron means ‘hunter’ and ‘untamed’! The fallen tree in their enclosure creates a great environment for the pair. They will tuck themselves away in crevices under the trunk or amongst the roots when they don’t wish to be seen and will lounge out on top of the tree, even up onto the highest arch when they want to survey their surroundings.
Read on to learn more about the behaviours and characteristics of lynx.
Like most cat species, lynx are solitary and very secretive. Lynx are nocturnal or crepuscular, normally sleeping during the day.
They use scent marks to communicate with other individuals nearby, and to mark out their hunting territories. Lynx communication consists of mews, hisses, growls and purrs, although they are considered fairly quiet outside of breeding season.
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 lynx 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.
Lynx have a broad distribution and can be found throughout Europe, and down into central Asia. Their stronghold is through Scandinavia, Russia and Siberia.
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), they can also be found in open wooded areas, thick scrub, barren rocky areas, and even semi deserts.
Lynx predominantly feed on large mammals such as deer, but will hunt smaller animals such as rabbits, wild boar, squirrels and birds.
Did you know?
The lynx is Europe’s third largest predator after brown bears and wolves.