- Education and Science
The Canada Lynx
Lynx canadensis- The Canadian lynx
The Canadian lynx is also found in the USA in the wild
To me, all cats are truly beautiful - even a vaguely ugly one. I'm a huge admirer of all the predators of the animal world, and especially cats. That all said, there is something spectacularly beautiful about the lynx of Canada.
Canadians have no reason to be snotty about it, and of course they aren't; because this cat also ventures into and lives in the north of the United States as well. The lynx of Canada is a close relative of the American bobcat, and in fact, they're closely enough related to interbreed. The interbreeding suggest more to us than just a close genetic relation, it suggests overlapping habitats. The Canadian lynx is slightly larger than the bobcat, but it is slightly smaller than its European and Asian cousin, the Eurasian lynx.
Lynx rufus - a bobcat, NOT a Canadian lynx
These medium sized cats are more related to your house cat than to larger cats
Every cat of the lynx variety is a cat more related to a cougar than it is to a lion; and of course the lynx cats of the world are also more closely related to a house cat than to a lion or a tiger, etc. You can't always trust your eyes, but in this case you can.These cats shared a clade with both the puma and the house cat.
Now there are three subspecies of the Canada lynx. Without going into too much detail here, the L. canadensis subsolanus, the Canadian lynx variety living on Newfoundland is the largest. It is big enough to take down a caribou calf, but the cat doesn't go to that kind of trouble unless its normal prey isn't so easily found.
The Canadian lynx - with darker coloring
Size and Coloring of the Canadian lynx
Like the arctic fox, and other very cold weather animals, the Canadian lynx doesn't bear the same coloring all year round. During the warmer months the lynx of Canada has a coloring much more similar to its Eurasian lynx cousins, and then in the colder months it becomes much more silvery white. You can clearly see how long the legs of this cat are, its feet are also rather broad, both of these adaptations aid the cats in their travels and hunts through the snow. It is notable that the Canadian lynx has significantly larger or more spread out feet than do bobcats.
Now, when we talk about sizes of animals and say, 'this species of cat is bigger than this other species of cat," what we are talking about is an average. The Canadian lynx, on average, is always bigger than the American bobcat. This does not mean, however, that sometimes an individual of the bobcat species won't be bigger than a Canadian lynx.
How big do these Canadian cats get? They generally stand nineteen to twenty two inches tall at the shoulder. They generally weigh in at between eleven and thirty seven pounds, and are usually between thirty and forty two inches long. You can see they don't have much in the way of a tail.
Canadian lynx mom and kittens
Mating and Life Span
When it comes to reproduction, the lynx of Canada does this only in the Spring. The female will choose exactly one male, and the male will choose however many females he can get at. They'll get at it as much as six times in an hour, and the urgency is there is only ever about a three day period where the female can become pregnant. Sixty four days after a successful roll in the snow, and then comes those completely adorable looking little snow predator kittens. What passes for a den or a nest is generally some bushes or some brush pile or another. These cats are built for the weather, of course.
The Canadian lynx doesn't produce a large litter. Usually we're talking about one to four kittens. If the prey has been plentiful that year, then the larger the litter will tend to be. These kittens greet the world as other kittens do, very small (three or four ounces), blind, and totally helpless.
At five weeks of age the kittens can leave the nest, but not for long, and not far. The mother still feeds them, and they're not weaned until around twelve weeks. Seven to nine months after birth they begin to hunt, but they are still quite small, and won't be mature for a long while. Females can reproduce before they are a year old, but this typically does not happen until they are two years old. Males take longer to reach maturity, and don't make their full size until they're about three years old. These cats can live to fourteen years of age, but that age has only ever been reached in captivity. It is unlikely a wild Canada lynx would live that long, as the hunting and such tends to wear out the teeth, making the most powerful weapons the cat has less effective, and of course, the cats get slower over the years.
The Canadian lynx about to have his meal
Hunting and Diet
Those poor poor rabbits. I tell ya, rabbits in Canada have a hard go of it. Golden eagles, great horned owls, arctic foxes, Canadian lynxes, arctic wolves, it seems like everyone has a good go of the rabbits of the north. I'm a Texan, and they're all just rabbits to me, but what we are actually talking about here insofar as the major meal the lynx has - is the snowshoe hare. These hares can comprise up to ninety seven percent of the Canadian lynx's diet. The snowshoe hare is always a critter making up over fifty percent of the Canada cat's diet. Knowing this as we do, it is easily and correctly concluded that the total numbers of the Canadian lynxes about in a given set of years will correlate directly with the availability of the snowshoe hare's numbers. It was already mentioned that litter size corresponds to the quality and quantity of the meals prior to Spring mating season.
The diet of the Canadian lynx isn't wholly dependent on snowshoe hares. Literally, these cats will eat whatever meat is available, and cats are always obligate carnivores. Carrion is an option on the menu, it is meat, obviously. Generally though, when not preying on rabbit or hare, the lynx is eating small rodents, and any birds it can get at. Like bobcats, the lynx is also capable of killing deer.
These cats have large eyes and large ears, and those things aren't ornamental either - they are outright weapons. The Canada lynx will ambush prey, and actively hunt for prey; and when it can this cat will eat as much as two and a half pounds of meat in a day. This kind of feasting, of course, isn't a daily happening.
Looking at the build of these cats and then thinking of something like a cheetah to compare one with - you can see how the lynx is built for power and not speed. This is not to say the Canada lynx is not a fast moving cat, it is, but it can not maintain a chase for very far. The lynx seeks to pounce and overpower, not to chase and tire out its prey. Killing sprees do happen if the day is a great day for hunting, and the lynx, if it may, will hide a kill, covering it up and concealing it as best it can - and then kill again.
The long distinctive ear tufts of the Canadian lynx
A solitary and powerful cat, the Canadian lynx should never be thought of as anyone's pet
All species of lynx are secretive, solitary, and mostly nocturnal; so the lynx of Canada is no different. These cats hunt in thicker forests and at higher altitudes than coyotes will. They prefer to forever stay within the trees, but they are not afraid of swimming. There was a recorded instance of a lynx swimming two entire miles in the Yukon river. Most decisions a Canada lynx ever makes have to do with food availability, and certainly the total area of land claimed as the cat's personal territory has everything to do with this. These are cats, and like other cats you know of, the lynx of Canada marks its territory with scented urine.
There is no need for me to state this, but the Canadian lynx will never make a pet for anyone. Oh people will try, people are forever putting themselves above the ecology and heaven forbid someone tell someone they can't own a thing, whatever the thing may be. It would be a terrific cruelty to attempt to cage a Canadian lynx to buffet an ego with. You can bet it happens.
The Canadian lynx, as was previously stated is not a Canadian entirely. They do live in the United states, and they do interbreed with bobcats. Currently, efforts are underway to introduce the lynx of Canada all the way south into Colorado. The degree South isn't so important as the Canadian lynx loves the elevation and trees the mountains of Colorado have to offer. The Canadian lynx is not endangered except for the ever encroaching human desire for its fur. You do not do the world a favor by purchasing a Canadian lynx fur coat. Lets keep these beautiful cats with us forever. Thanks for reading.
The Canadian lynx hunting
© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw