Species / International Ovis

Canada Lynx

Lynx canadensis


Northern North America, where it is found throughout Alaska and most of Canada. Also in northern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana and elsewhere in other parts of the northern United States.

In southern parts of its range, its distribution overlaps that of its close relative the bobcat, which replaces it in the rest of the United States and in Mexico.


Solitary except when breeding. Probably territorial. Mates during February and March. The female has one litter a year, usually with 2-3 kittens (range is 1-5) that remain with her until the following winter. Lifes pan as much as 11 years in captivity.

Mainly nocturnal, but does hunt and travel during the day, particularly in the far north where it is mostly daylight during summer. A good swimmer, sometimes crossing large rivers. A poor runner, but walks tirelessly and climbs trees well. Good eyesight, well-developed hearing, and adequate sense of smell. Hunts mainly by sight. Preys mostly on the snowshoe, or varying, hare (Lepus americanus), but also on rodents, birds and fish. During periods of deep snow in winter, will kill deer and sometimes even larger animals. Does not eat carrion. Its numbers seem to be more affected by availability of prey animals than by human hunting pressure. Hudson's Bay Company trapping records confirm that lynx populations will vary directly with snowshoe hare numbers, typically being one year behind the snowshoe hare's cycle of 9-1/2 years.


The (male) head and body length measures 31-39 inches (79-99 cm). The tail length is 2-5 inches (5.1 to 12.7 cm). The shoulder height is about 20-30 inches (51-76 cm). The weight is around 20-35 pounds (9-16 kg). Females are smaller than males. The chromosome count is 38. The Lynx (and bobcats) differ from most cats by having two, instead of three, upper premolars on each side, for a total of 28 teeth instead of the usual 30.

A distinctive, medium-sized cat with a short tail, tufted ears, pronounced cheek ruffs, comparatively long legs and large feet. The coat is commonly a yellowish-brown frosted with gray, with the underparts buff. The winter coat is long, soft and thick. Paws are thickly furred for walking in snow.


Tall forest with dense undergrowth, but also open forest, rocky areas and tundra.


Traditionally a furbearing animal that is trapped during the winter when its fur is prime; however, it is also a demanding game animal when hunted. Only lynx that have been hunted, not trapped, will be accepted for GSCO milestones.

Lynx are found across northern Europe and Asia as well as in North America. Two subspecies of Canada lynx have been listed, subsolanus (Newfoundland Island) and canadensis (rest of the species range), but we do not separate them.

Source: Safari Club International (SCI).

The Canadian Lynx counts towards both the GSCO Rex Baker Super 40® and the GSCO Youth 3 milestone.

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