The Canada Lynx or Canadain Lynx is a North American mammal of the cat family, Felidae. It is a close relative of the Eurasian Lynx" (Lynx lynx). However, in some characteristics the Canada lynx is more like the Bobcat (Lynx rufus) than the Eurasian Lynx. With the recognised subspecies, it ranges across Canada and into Alaska as well as some parts of the Northern United States.
The appearance of the Canada lynx is similar to that of the Eurasian lynx: the dense fur is silvery brown and may bear blackish markings. In summer, its coat takes on a more reddish brown color. It has a furry ruff which resembles a double-pointed beard, a short tail with a black tip, and long furry tufts on its ears. Its long legs with broad furred feet aid in traveling through deep snow.
It is smaller than its Eurasian cousin, at an average weight of 8 to 11 kg (18 to 24 lb), 80 to 105 cm (31 to 41 in) in length, and a shoulder height of 48 to 56 cm (19 to 22 in). Males are larger than females. Although the species is larger on average than the bobcat, it is less variable in size and the largest bobcat outsize the lynx.
Like all lynx, it has 28 teeth, with four long caninesfor puncturing and gripping. The lynx can feel where it is biting the prey with its canines because they are heavily laced with nerves. The lynx also has four carnassials that cut the meat into small pieces. In order for the lynx to use its carnassials, it must chew the meat with its head to its side. There are large spaces between the four canines and the rest of the teeth, and a reduced number of premolars, to ensure that the bite goes as deeply as possible into the prey. Adaptations that lynx have for manoeuvering through the deep snow are feet with a large gap between the first and second toes and their big toe set at a wide angle which gives them a better vicelike grip on the snow.
The Canada lynx is a secretive and mostly nocturnal animal, although it may be active at any time of day. They shelter in areas of particularly dense forest. In regions where their range overlaps with that of other predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, they tend to hunt in areas with deeper snow cover, or at higher altitudes. The cat tends to stay within a 100 yards (91 m) of the treeline, but does not shy away from swimming. One account records a lynx swimming two miles across the Yukon River.
Although normally solitary, at times small groups may be observed traveling together. The lynx roam about 1.5 to 3 mi (2.4 to 4.8 km) each day, and thus require a large territory. Typical home ranges are between 15 and 50 km (5.8 and 19 sq mi), but are highly variable, with extremes from 3 to 783 km (1.2 to 302 sq mi) having been reported. When food becomes scarce, the lynx territory will increase; most of the population will roam far, with a select few staying behind in their original territory.
Like other cats, Canada lynx use scent marking to indicate their territory. Adults typically deposit faeces on top of the snow or on tree stumps and other prominent sites, and frequently spray urine to mark their range.
If the lynx kills or scavenges a larger animal that it cannot consume all in one sitting, it will drag it to a hiding area such as a bush or under a rock and then will cover the dead animal with leaves and return to consume it later. Such behaviour is particularly common when prey is abundant. If food is scarce and the lynx comes upon a large number of prey, it may go on a spree, killing as many prey as possible, then storing the kills.
Canada lynx feed predominantly on snowshoe hares, which typically comprise 60% to 97% of their diet; as a result, the size of the lynx population tends to run parallel to the 10 year long rise and decline of hare's numbers. However, especially in summer, they will also eat rodents and birds, and sometimes hunt larger prey such as deer Like many cats, they will eat when it is available.