The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is a medium-sized North American wildcat that ranges across Alaska, Canada and many of the contiguous United States. It is characterized by its long, dense fur, triangular ears with black tufts at the tips, and broad, snowshoe-like paws. As in the bobcat (L. rufus), the lynx's hindlimbs are longer than the forelimbs, so the back slopes downward to the front. The Canada lynx stands 48–56 cm (19–22 in) tall at the shoulder and weighs between 5 and 17 kg (11 and 37 lb). The lynx is a good swimmer and an agile climber. The Canada lynx was first described by Robert Kerr in 1792. Three subspecies have been proposed, but their validity is doubted. A specialist predator, the Canada lynx depends heavily on snowshoe hares for food. This leads to a prey-predator cycle, as Canada lynxes respond to the cyclic rises and falls in snowshoe hare populations over the years in Alaska and central Canada. When hares are scarce lynxes tend to move to areas with more hares and tend not to produce litters, and as the numbers of the hare increase, so do the populations of the lynx. The Canada lynx hunts mainly around twilight, or at night, when snowshoe hares tend to be active. The lynx waits for the hare on specific trails or in "ambush beds", then pounces on it and kills it by a bite on its head, throat or the nape of its neck. Individuals, particularly of the same sex, tend to avoid each other, forming "intrasexual" territories. The mating season is roughly a month long (from March to early April). After a gestation of two to three months, a litter of one to eight kittens is born. Offspring are weaned at 12 weeks. This lynx occurs predominantly in dense boreal forests, and its range strongly coincides with that of the snowshoe hare. Given its abundance throughout the range, and lack of severe threats, the Canada lynx has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. This lynx is regularly trapped for the international fur trade in most of Alaska and Canada but is protected in the southern half of its range due to threats such as habitat loss.
Also known as
This breed is also called Canada Lynx, Canadian Lynx, Felis Canadensis, Lynx Canadensis as well as North American Lynx.
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