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Understanding that the look of the Lynx varies depending on the species you are talking about is important. They all have some basic things about them though. For example they have tails that are substantially shorter than other felines. They have a black tip so you can always tell if it is a Lynx you are viewing. They also have black tips on the ears. They look of a beard on the face is a common characteristic. That is white along with white under the chin and the underneath of the body.
They can range in size depending on the species as well as where they happen to live. Experts believed the diet of the Lynx influences the overall size of it. The largest ones are about 88 pounds. Others though are full grown even though they barely weigh 10 pounds. They are well known as lovely looking animals and unfortunately the beauty of their coat has been a prime reason for them to be hunted almost to extinction.
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Even though the Lynx is fast, they aren’t moving very quickly when you compare them to other felines. They have heavy legs and very large paws. At the same time though they have a design that allows them to easily move onto of the snow. They don’t use as much energy this way. They also get the upper hand on the prey they are after.
Experts are blown away by the powerful hearing of the Lynx. Even very small prey including mice can be heard several hundred feet from them. They have great vision too so they use both of these senses to help them do very well in their environment. They can jump up to 10 feet which is really an amazing benefit when it comes to movements.
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How did the four species of the Lynx that we have information about today evolve? While there are several theories there is very little concrete evidence. It could be that they were once very larger animals but that they branched off and the smaller ones serviced due to they needed less food.
We have fossil remains that show the Lynx was around in the late Pliocene period. They were primarily in Europe and Africa during that time. Today we know the Lynx is in more areas than that. It is only speculated about their movements to get to these other regions. What is believed though is that they are highly adaptive to new environments.
We often see the Lynx living a solitary life in the wild. They do meet up for mating purposes though. The females are excellent with the young and only have a short period of about 9 months to interact with them. There is plenty of communication among them at that point including chattering, hissing, and yowling. They also purr which is very standard among felines. Sometimes small groups of the Lynx will be seen hunting with each other. This is a survival approach though that isn’t a common part of their normal behavior.
Does the Lynx take part in behaviors that include attacking humans? Only the Bobcat has been confirmed as doing so. It is usually due to them feeling threatened though or that they have rabies.
Habitat and Distribution
There are quite a few places where you will find the Lynx living. This includes Canada, Europe, Asia, and North America. They live in a variety of regions too including the frozen tundra, mountains, plains, and in the forest.
They are able to move around to various types of habitats. The one key element that they must have though is a way to access food. When other animals lose their habitat then it makes it harder for the Lynx to find enough to eat.
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Diet and Feeding Habits
The food sources of the Lynx are plentiful but it does depend on where they live. They often consume hares due to the fact that they are very abundant. They also consume mice and fox. Sometimes they eat fish if there are water resources in the area. They can take down very large prey too such as deer.
They are amazing hunters which means that they are able to move fast and they are able to take down prey that is much larger than they are. They use their speed to capture the prey. Then they place very sharp teeth into the body of their prey. The strong jaws allow them to remain secure there until the life drains out of the animal.
These animals mate during the colder time of the year when the winter months approach. The females carry the young in their bodies for just over two months. Then they will go into a den when the young kits can be born. They do have fur but are blind at birth. Within about 10 days their eyes open. They stay in the den for several months for their own protection.
During that period of time the mother has to go find her own food sources. She will continue to feed the young milk from her body. She also brings meat back to the den as they get older. If she can’t find very much meat though the smaller ones will die as the stronger siblings will fight them for it. There can be up to six kits in a given litter.
By the time that they are nine months old they have to learn all there is about hunting on their own. The mother will wonder off and not return. The siblings can rely upon each other for a while to hunt in groups. Then they will slowly start to separate and to find their own home range for hunting and survival. They are extremely vulnerable at that time due to their small size. Many of them will die to predators in the area.
There are quite a few different predators out there for the young Lynx. The only one that the older Lynx really have to worry about are coyotes. When they are very young though various types of birds can swoop down and capture them in a moments notice.
Due to the beauty of their fur the Lynx has long been heavily hunted by humans. Even though the fashion statement made by fur coats isn’t popular any more the numbers have become so low that they are considered as an endangered species. There are some conservation efforts in place though to try to help them recover.
Even though the Lynx is very adaptable they can’t continue to make changes when their own natural habitat is getting smaller and smaller. If they don’t have large amounts of room to go out and look for prey they can starve. The fact that the habitat for their common prey is also being taken away is a double blow to them.
Humans continue to move into areas where the Lynx was once able to freely explore. The goal with many conservation efforts is to make sure that space doesn’t shrink more than it already has. They also look into plans and strategies for moving the Lynx into territory that it has previously been wiped out from.