Canada Lynx

Lynx canadensis

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Visually, the Canada Lynx looks very similar to the Bobcat, although they are different species. Like the Bobcat, the Lynx has thick tufts of fur on its paws and behind its ears, a slender body and a bobbed tail. Both are medium-sized predators, but the Lynx is slightly larger and its long, slender legs also create the illusion of greater height. Because Lynx are commonly found in snowy environments, their feet have twice the surface area of the Bobcat, making them more effective at traversing snow and ice. A spotted coat, often gray in color, can also distinguish it from the Bobcat. Both animals are sometimes called “wildcats.”

A cunning predator, the Lynx feeds on birds and small mammals. Its preferred prey is the Varying Hare. Although usually thought of as a solitary hunter, lynxes may sometimes hunt cooperatively.

Range and Habitat

Historically, the Lynx has been found through north-central and eastern Oregon. Its range is now fractured due to human settlement. The animal prefers old growth forests where heavy woody debris and a thick understory provide plenty of denning opportunities and limited contact with human beings. Young lynxes will stay in dens with their parents for up to ten months before heading out on their own. The reduction of old growth forests has greatly impacted this species. Critical habitat on public lands was first designated for the Lynx in 1996. The animal can be found sporadically in twenty-one Oregon counties east of the Coast Range Mountains. Exact numbers are not known.

Conservation Status

Threatened. The Lynx’s reduced population is the result of multiple factors. Human destruction of its habitat and years of over-hunting greatly decreased its numbers. Recovery has been difficult for the animal because of competition from more common predators like the Coyote and Bobcat.