Eurasian Lynx File
Credit: Public Domain
Wild 24 years
Captive 24 years
A Wide Ranging Cat!
The Eurasian lynx has one of the widest ranges of any cat. They can be found across much of Europe and Asia.
They are carnivores which can hunt for prey up to four times their size. A favored prey source is deer and this may provide them with a meal for several days in a row as they leave their prey and return to it.
Females raise their young in a den and care for them for up to twelve months teaching them to hunt and survive on their own.
Their population was significantly reduced through hunting and habitat loss but has gradually been expanded once again.
Read on to learn more about these magnificent mammals.
What does the Eurasian Lynx look like?
The body of the Eurasian lynx is covered by golden or rusty colored fur on the back and white on the underside. This is patterned with black stripes and spots. These can be bold or almost invisible. Around the jaw is a patch of white fur.
At the end of their body is a relatively short tail measuring 16-23cm (6.5-9in) long. The shortened tail means this cat is less balanced when running or climbing compared to other cat species. Its length helps to prevent areas available for heat to be lost.
On top of the ears are the tufts which are characteristic of lynx. The ears are triangular in shape. These can help them to visually converse with other lynx. It ends with a black tip.
Either side of the face are a number of long whiskers.
Their back legs are longer than those at the front which gives the body a slanted look. Each of their paws have a number of long claws which can be retracted.
Their eyes have a yellow iris with a round, black pupil.
An average Eurasian lynx will measure 0.8-1.3m (2.5-4.25ft) long with a weight of 15-29kg (33-64lbs).
Eurasian lynx are the largest species of lynx.
How does the Eurasian Lynx survive in its habitat?
The feet of the Eurasian lynx are covered by dense fur. This helps to provide grip when they are moving through their habitat and provide warmth to those which live in cold habitats. The feet are also slightly webbed to help support their body on the snow.
To assist with their nocturnal activity pattern this species has eyesight which is six times better in the dark than that of humans.
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What does the Eurasian Lynx eat?
Eurasian lynx are carnivores which will feed on a range of small mammals such as rodents, birds and some have been recorded to take down small deer. They have been seen to take domestic stock such as sheep.
An individual may bring down prey up to four times their size.
If they have too much prey to eat in a single sitting they may bury it and return to it later.
Learn more about the Eurasian Lynx in this video from Animals Descriptions on YouTube
Where do you find the Eurasian Lynx?
The Eurasian lynx has one of the widest ranges of any wildcat taken in large areas across Europe and Asia. Here they occur in the following countries – Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czechia; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Hungary; India; Iran; Iraq; Italy; Kazakhstan; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Mongolia; Nepal; North Macedonia; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Sweden; Switzerland; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The current status of this species in the following countries is uncertain – Bhutan; Greece; Moldova; Montenegro and Serbia.
Their range has been significantly reduced through human expansion and related effects. They are absent from the Iberian peninsula where the Iberian lynx occurs. Ongoing release programs have seen them returned to a number of areas from which they were removed.
Where can the Eurasian Lynx survive?
One factor in their wide range is the ability to survive in a wide variety of habitats. They may be found in forest, shrubland, taiga, tundra grassland, desert and rocky areas.
These animals will seek out shelter under rocks, trees or among shrubs.
Credit: Public Domain
How does the Eurasian Lynx produce its young?
Mating takes place during February and March.
The female is able to raise 2-4 cubs each season. Males have no involvement in raising their young.
Their gestation period is 67-74 days long. She will form a den at the base of a tree or among rocks where she can give birth.
For the first two weeks of life the cubs have closed eyes. They first walk just before a month old. This is around the first time that they try meat.
Her cubs are weaned off of milk by 12 weeks old but they may remain in her territory for up to a year.
Sexual maturity is reached within the second year of life.
What does the Eurasian Lynx do during its day?
These animals travel widely throughout their territory and are adapted for climbing trees and swimming across waters allowing them to easily move without encountering many obstacles which they cannot deal with.
Eurasian lynx are a nocturnal species which will seek shelter during the day.
This species is solitary and is rarely seen with other individuals outside of the breeding season.
The Eurasian lynx will produce a range of vocalizations including a hiss, growl or purr. It is rare for them to make these vocalizations.
Credit: Public Domain
Predators and Threats
What stops the Eurasian Lynx from surviving and thriving?
Populations of the Eurasian lynx are considered to be stable. The total population is estimated at 50,000 individuals. During the early 1900s the population fell to just 700 individuals.
Much of the threats to the Eurasian lynx come from human interference in their habitat. These include habitat loss and fragmentation along with persecution due to conflict with farmers.
Some are also directly targeted for their fur.
Another concern for their ongoing survival is the low genetic diversity of the population. This issue is increasing due to the small overall size of some populations.
This species is offered legal protection across much of its range but this does not appear to deter hunters in some areas.
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The Eurasian lynx was first described for science during 1758.
Credit: Public Domain
Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.
Breitenmoser, U., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T., von Arx, M., Antonevich, A., Bao, W. & Avgan, B. 2015. Lynx lynx (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T12519A121707666. Accessed on 18 April 2022.
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Lynx, E., 2022. Eurasian Lynx. [online] International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada. Available at: <https://wildcatconservation.org/wild-cats/eurasia/eurasian-lynx/> [Accessed 18 April 2022].
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