The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, where it is one of the predators. The Eurasian lynx is the biggest of the lynxes, ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (32 to 51 in) and standing about 70 cm (28 in) at the shoulder. Males usually weigh from 18 to 30 kg (40 to 66 lb) and females weigh 18.1 kg (40 lb) on average. The Eurasian lynx is mainly nocturnal and lives solitarily as an adult. Moreover, the sounds this lynx makes are very quiet and seldom heard, so the presence of the species in an area may go unnoticed for years. Remnants of prey or tracks on snow are usually observed long before the animal is seen.
Lynxes prey on hares, rabbits, rodents, foxes, roe deer and reindeer. As with other cats, trying on larger prey presents a risk to the animal. The main method of hunting is stalking, sneaking and jumping on prey. In winter certain snow conditions make this harder and the animal may be forced to switch to larger prey. Lynx are capable of killing prey 3-4 times their own size. The European lynx likes rugged forested country providing plenty of hideouts and stalking opportunities. The hunting area of an average lynx is from 20 to 60 km² and it can tread more than 20 km during one night.
There are three main coat patterns: predominantly spotted, predominantly striped, and unpatterned. While the spotted-striped types, controlled by the “Tabby” gene, predominate in present reintroduced European lynx populations (originating mainly from the Carpathian mountains further east), Ragni et al. (1993) show through examination of 26 pelts of the original, now extinct, populations of the European Alps that these animals were chiefly unpatterned, and were, moreover, smaller in size. Eurasian lynx have long, prominent black ear tufts, and short black-tipped tails. Lynx activity peaks in the evening and morning hours, with resting mainly around mid-day and midnight (Bernhart 1990).
The Eurasian lynx has relatively long legs, and large feet which provide a “snowshoe effect”, allowing for more efficient travel through deep snow. In winter, the fur grows very densely on the bottom of the feet.
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