Canada lynx are medium-sized cats characterized by a muscular, leggy appearance. Lynx have uniform fur that is brownish in color. The fur is generally unspotted, except on the undersides where the fur is mottled with dark spots. Their ears are marked with an elongated tuft of black hair, a character common to all lynx species. The tail is tipped with black. As with most cat species, the sexes are dimorphic, with males slightly larger and heavier than females. The Canada lynx has snowshoe-like feet and the fur covering the paws is long and dense. This gives the paws an increased surface area and enhances the cat’s ability to maneuver on soft snow.
- Scientific Designation: Lynx canadensis
- Endangered Status: Least Concern (LC)
- Lifespan: Up to 15 years
- Weight: 10 to 38 lbs
- Height: 50 to 75 cm
- Body Length: 65 to 100cm
- Tail Length: 10 to 15 cm
The lynx is primarily terrestrial and nocturnal (as is the snowshoe hare, its principal prey), although it also can be found moving about in the daytime. When extreme cold temperatures and deep snows arrive, lynx retreat into the dense forest for shelter. Like most cat species, the lynx is solitary with the exception of a female and cubs.
The lynx roam from the treeline in the Arctic, south through the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada, and into the northern United States. Within this extensive range, its distribution and population density mirrors that of the snowshoe hare.
Although it is no longer found in Prince Edward Island and mainland Nova Scotia, this species’ status remains satisfactory over much of its range.
Distribution map courtesy of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), compiled in 2016 by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Threats to the Canadian Lynx
Habitat modification seems not to have a significant effect on lynx populations. Its main threat is hunting for fur. The Canada lynx is classified as Least Concern (LC) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is listed under appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
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