Wild Profile: Meet the Canada lynx

Published: December 3, 2019

By Geoffrey Kuchera/Shutterstock

If there was ever a cat custom-built for winter, it must be the Canada lynx. Dense fur, long legs, and giant, snowshoe-like paws allow these felines to travel easily over deep powder. Plus, their light-sensitive, reflective eyes mean they can see well through the endlessly dark winter nights.

When walking—not furtively slinking—lynx appear downward-sloping; this is because their front legs are shorter than their back legs. They aren’t fast runners, but they are good at stealthily stalking and ambushing; an adult can jump about four-and-a-half metres from a standstill. Lynx also have excellent hearing, and can easily swivel their ears in all directions, thanks to 30 different muscles. (Useless humans have only a handful of ear muscles. Weak!) Those long ear tufts, meanwhile, aren’t just for show. They’re sensitive to vibration and allow the cat to zero in on sound.

Maybe most cottagers aren’t likely to ever spot a lynx—but lynx sightings are still more common than bobcat sightings. Bobcats—they have brown fur, smaller paws, and shorter ear tufts—are close cousins of lynx; both probably descended from the same species.

 

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