The Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), has a body that has adapted to its mountain forest habitat with strong legs and webbed, furry paws that provide speed, stability, and silence when moving on snow. In fact, it can live in its territories for years before it is finally spotted. Once it spots its prey, the Eurasian Lynx remarkably begins to behave like my own cat, Niblet. Niblet is a domesticated cat and never leaves the house, spending far too much time playing games on the computer, but when he spies a bird outside my bedroom window he makes a chattering sound--not very sneaky!
Like a house cat staring out the window at a bird, the Eurasian Linx will also chatter when it sees unreachable prey, which may explain why Niblet chatters--he knows he cannot reach the bird. If a Eurasian Lynx is on one side of a mountain and sees a rabbit hopping through the snow on the opposite mountain it will instinctively begin to chatter. Perhaps this is his way of saying, "I'll get you next time!"
The Eurasian Lynx is also the largest animal in the Lynx family standing 28 inches to the shoulder. The Eurasian Lynx is generally 51 inches long. Males weigh 40 to 60 pounds while females average 40 pounds, so there is not that much difference in size between males and females. They are considered a medium-sized wild cat.
European Lynx generally live to be 17 years or older, which is pretty old when you think about it, and probably due to the fact that they stay hidden.
They prefer to make their homes in mountain and woodland areas with rocky outcroppings where they can watch for their favorite prey, deer. They also eat rabbits, rodents, wild boar and reindeer and can kill animals four times their own size. They are stalkers, attacking with a quick burst of speed and killing with a swift, sharp bite to the neck.
They are great tree climbers, which adds a tremendous boost to their stalking ability. Like many animals, such as rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and coyotes, they prefer to hunt in the early morning and at dusk, then sleep during the day.
The female Eurasian Lynx is able to have babies at 2 years old, though males mature a year later. Eurasian Lynx start thinking about having children sometime between January and March and once the female is pregnant it takes 68 days, or a little over two months before she gives birth to two or three kittens.
Pregnant females build their home, or den, using tree branches and roots for cover. Kittens are born blind, helpless, and with brown fur, gradually acquiring their adult colors with age. They begin to eat solid food at about six weeks old. They remain with their mothers ten months. Eurasian Lynx have kittens only once a year. Females stop having kittens at the age of 14.
The Eurasian Lynx once ranged the European forests, but their populations gradually declined. In spite of this fact, they are listed as animals of Least Concern with the IUCN, most likely because of their large numbers in Russia. The largest population of Eurasian Lynx--more than 90%--can be found in the Siberian forests, and I've noticed that many of the Eurasian Lynx in zoos come from this area. Another large population of Eurasian Lynx lives in the Carpathian Mountains.
- "ELOIS--Eurasian Lynx Online Information System for Europe." Retrieved July 20, 2010
- "Eurasian Lynx." Feline Conservation Federation. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- "Eurasian Lynx." IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved July 20, 2010.