May 2, 2012

Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Did you know?

That the size of the lynx population in North America is related to the abundance of their main prey, the hare? It is known that populations of both species fluctuate in cycles associated with periods of about 9.6 years. In these cycles, there is a slight gap between the populations of hare and lynx.

The Canadian lynx is a medium sized cat. It is smaller than its Eurasian cousin. The head-body length varies from 67 to 107 cm, and the tail is short with a length of 5 to 130 cm. These animals weight between 8.5 and 17 kg. On average, males weigh slightly more than females. Like other lynx, the Canadian lynx has a mustache. The ears are triangular at the tip tufts of their long hair black. The legs are very large and hairy, which helps to distribute the their weight when moving on the snow. The body coat is long and thick. Its color varies, but it is usually yellowish-brown. The top may look cold and gray, but the bottom can be brighter. Many individuals have dark spots. The tail often has rings and a black tip. 

The Canadian lynx is a solitary animal. The vast ranges of males and females overlap. The mating season is in February and March. After a gestation period of 9 to 10 weeks, the female gives birth to a litter of 1-5, usually 2-3 kittens, on fallen logs, rocks or similar shelters. Juveniles have a weight of 200 g. They are weaned at 5 months of age but stay with their mother until the mating season next winter. Females reach sexual maturity at 21 months and males at 33 months. The Canadian lynx feeds primarily on snowshoe hares, but opportunistically eat rodents, birds, fowls, young or weakened ungulates, and even fish.

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