Eurasian Lynx

Lynx lynx

Quick Bio for Eurasian Lynx:

Status: Least Concern
have from 1-5 cubs, usually 2
Weight: 18-36 kg
Diet: Carnivore

Physical description of Eurasian Lynx

The Eurasian lynx is the biggest of the four members of the lynx genus, weighing in at up to 35 kg. Those from the North and East of the Eurasian landmass are generally bigger than those from the more fragmented populations in Western Europe. Males are also bigger than females.

The lynx’s coat is very variable. There are both grey and almost orange lynx. The pale yellow color of other cats is also common. Spots can be large or small or even nearly stripes. Most noticeable though, are the tufts on the ears that are a distinguishing feature (unfortunately, in Western Europe, being wild, big and cat is enough to recognize it). Tails are short and have a black tip.

Like the Canadian lynx, the Eurasian lynx lives in areas that get a lot of winter snow. As a result, their paws are pretty large and furry, helping them travel better over the snowy ground in winter. Their legs are also relatively long.

Young Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in the snow. The dull winter coat helps to hide the beautiful animal in the snowy environment on this cold day. This photographer captured the beautiful amber eyes. What appears like a cute cub is a dangerous and endangered predator.
Licensed from Shutterstock
Young Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in the snow. The dull winter coat helps to hide the beautiful animal in the snowy environment on this cold day. This photographer captured the beautiful amber eyes. What appears like a cute cub is a dangerous and endangered predator.

Distribution and habitat of Eurasian Lynx

Found across Russia, Central Asia and Europe, the Eurasian Lynx has one of the largest ranges of any cat. Living in mostly forested areas, the lynx is more widespread in the East than in the West, where human development has severely restricted their range.

The deforestation of much of Western Europe has led to a demise in the historic lynx population here, leaving only patchy populations. Lynx today are much more numerous and have a more extensive range across Northern Europe and Russia.

Habitat varies across the lynx’s range. What is consistent, is that they prefer forested areas and areas with dense populations of prey (small deer or similar). In the southern area of their range, towards Central Asia and as far south as the Himalayas, forest cover is more limited so lynx live in more open areas. However, they still need places that have at least some trees or woodlands.

Most cats like to climb trees. The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is no exception. The pale grey winter fur offers camouflage in the snow but also against the pale bark of the birch trees common in the boreal forest.
CC License, image by Tom Bech
Most cats like to climb trees. The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is no exception. The pale grey winter fur offers camouflage in the snow but also against the pale bark of the birch trees common in the boreal forest.

Eurasian Lynx behavior

The Eurasian lynx is most active during the early morning and late evening, the same time as their prey is active. Normally, they spend the rest of the day being lazy, resting in the bushes, though they are known to be good climbers and can be found in trees as well.

The range of single cats can be about 200 square kilometers, though males need more space than females. Habitat and prey determine the range, and sometimes this can be even bigger if prey is scarce and forest cover permits more travel.

The female’s home range depends on the availability to feed her young and is often reduced when she has very young kittens to care for. Sometimes, a female lynx will allow her territory to overlap with that of her daughters. The range of the male lynx can overlap with that of the female as he generally chooses areas that will give him as much mating opportunity as possible.

Like most cats, the Eurasian lynx marks its territory with urine and other secretions. They have good eyesight and hearing, though it is not well established if this is important for communication. Vocalizations are known but are often very quiet.

The Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), a medium-sized feline, inhabits expansive forests spanning Siberia, Central, East, and Southern Asia, as well as Eastern, North, and Central Europe. Specialized for forested environments, the lynx's range contrasts with the broader habitats of leopards and pumas, highlighting its remarkable adaptation.
Licensed from Shutterstock
The Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), a medium-sized feline, inhabits expansive forests spanning Siberia, Central, East, and Southern Asia, as well as Eastern, North, and Central Europe. Specialized for forested environments, the lynx’s range contrasts with the broader habitats of leopards and pumas, highlighting its remarkable adaptation.

What do Eurasian Lynx eat?

Eurasian lynx specialize in preying on smaller ungulates (chamois, roe deer, etc.). Larger animals, such as moose or red deer, can also succumb to the lynx in the difficult conditions of winter. Anywhere where such prey is rare, the Eurasian lynx will prey upon smaller animals, such as hares and birds similar to the other lynx species. Lynx can kill prey up to 4 times their own size, generally by stalking under the cover of the forest and, like most cats, pouncing and grabbing the neck at the last moment, suffocating the prey.

Prey is regularly dragged off to the deep cover of the forest to be eaten. Larger prey is sometimes cached for later use.

Wolves and lynx inhabit the same space and are generally friendly towards one another. This is because their prey is usually different, and they can co-occur peacefully. Lynx hunt the smaller deer (roe and fallow deer), while wolves prefer the larger red deer.

Also, while these prey animals intermingle, they are generally found in slightly different areas, with the red deer out in the open where wolves can hunt more successfully in packs, leaving the lynx to hunt in the tighter areas of the forest for the smaller ungulates. This leads to a peaceful co-existence among the predators.

The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is widespread across Europe and Russia. It is secretive and often stays deep in the forest. Sightings are rare, but more common if the cat ventures toward open ground or around the edges of the woods.
The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is widespread across Europe and Russia. It is secretive and often stays deep in the forest. Sightings are rare, but more common if the cat ventures toward open ground or around the edges of the woods.

Mating and Parental care of Eurasian Lynx

Females and males live, like most cats, separate lives, coming together only to mate. The mating season is generally in the springtime, roughly February to April, and cubs are born about ten weeks later.

A litter is made up of 2 or 3 kittens who reach independence in a little less than a year. However, as soon as they are able to, the kittens follow the mother as she hunts and learn the necessary skills to provide for themselves.

Who preys on Eurasian Lynx

Generally, the Eurasian lynx is at the top of the food chain, though they are known to have been killed by bigger predators such as tigers and wolves, and of course, humans.

Encountering the elusive Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) up close is a rare opportunity. Winter sightings are relatively more common, facilitated by tracking their prints in the snow. Across its range, the lynx is protected except in Russia.
Licensed from Shutterstock
Encountering the elusive Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) up close is a rare opportunity. Winter sightings are relatively more common, facilitated by tracking their prints in the snow. Across its range, the lynx is protected except in Russia.

How long do Eurasian Lynx live?

Eurasian lynx are known to have survived more than 15 years in the wild but the survival rates of young lynx are not good.

Eurasian Lynx and their ecosystem

The Eurasian lynx plays a vital role in its ecosystem as it is an apex predator. So much so that it is being considered for reintroduction to areas where it has become extinct, such as the UK.

Lynx are well known for controlling the deer population and, as one of the main predators, are a determinant of the numbers of small ungulates in a region. This influence varies across the range, being dependent on the number of other predators and humans in the area.

A beautiful view of a slender Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) standing on a rock as a better vantage point.
Licensed from Shutterstock
A beautiful view of a slender Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) standing on a rock as a better vantage point.

Impact of Eurasian Lynx on the human economy

During the early 20th century, the Eurasian lynx was extensively hunted, especially for its fur. Today, hunting is illegal in its whole range except for Russia, a considerable portion of the lynx’s range. As a result, the population was endangered, though it is rebounding today. There are limited numbers in the Alps, but notable increases have occurred in both the population and inhabited areas in recent years.

Lynx are generally not a threat to humans, though they can attack when trapped or in danger. Attacks on livestock cause the most upset to humans, though this is generally not in large numbers outside of some parts of Scandinavia. Most European countries now tend to compensate farmers for losses as the economic importance of predators to the ecosystem is becoming better known.

As lynx prey heavily on game animals, hunters are also regularly annoyed by the animal. This is more of an issue in areas where the balance of the ecosystem is less robust than when the deer and lynx populations are in balance.

Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is running in the wild forest. The winter fur can be great camouflage in the snow but might stand out a bit more when there is a lack thereof.
Licensed from Shutterstock
Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is running in the wild forest. The winter fur can be great camouflage in the snow but might stand out a bit more when there is a lack thereof.

Conservation status and human impact on Eurasian Lynx

As hunting has been outlawed across all countries of the lynx’s range except Russia, the threat from hunting has been reduced. However, deforestation and loss of suitable habitat are still major threats today, across the Eurasian continent.

Some of the reintroductions of the lynx in the 1970s in Europe have been successful, especially those in France and Switzerland. The one big threat that still exists in Western Europe is the limited habitat. The extensive road and rail networks that must be traversed by lynx lead to fatalities every year.

The Swiss introduction has been so successful that the population has spread out into western Austria.

The Eurasian (Lynx lynx) is a specialist, it lives in forests of northern eurasia. Of all the lynxes it tends to hunt the largest prey such as chamois or roe deer.
Licensed from Shutterstock
The Eurasian (Lynx lynx) is a specialist, it lives in forests of northern eurasia. Of all the lynxes it tends to hunt the largest prey such as chamois or roe deer.

Other important information about Eurasian Lynx

Subspecies:

Lynx lynx lynx: Scandinavia, eastern Europe, western Siberia.

Lynx lynx carpathicus: Carpathian Mountains, central Europe.

Lynx lynx martinoi: the Balkan region.

Lynx lynx dinniki: the Caucasus mountains

Lynx lynx wardi: the Altai mountains.

Lynx lynx wrangeli: eastern Siberia.

Lynx lynx isabellinus: central Asia.

Lynx lynx kozlovi: central Siberia.

Eurasian Lynx in French, German, Spanish ...

Latin Name
Lynx lynx
Alternative Names
Lynx
French Names
Lynx, Lynx Boréal
German Names
Luchs, Nordluchs
Spanish Names
Lince Europeo, Lince, Lince Boreal
Swahili Names
Linksi Wa Ulaya

Popular Blog Posts

The Big Five vs the Small Five Animals

The Big Five vs the Small Five Animals

The Small Five Animals Everybody who dreams of an African Safari knows all about the Big Five. During the early years of African exploration by white colonists, they encountered five animals that were almost mythological in their difficulty to hunt. Of course, today,...

Eight of the Best National Parks for Wildlife

Eight of the Best National Parks for Wildlife

Embark on a journey into the heart of the wild, where untamed beauty and the pulse of nature weave together in a tapestry that spans continents. From the vast, open savannas where the Earth stretches out to touch the sky to the dense, ancient forests where the air is...

Ten Amazing Wildlife Spectacles

Ten Amazing Wildlife Spectacles

There is wildlife everywhere on our beautiful planet. However, in our modern world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see wild animals up close. In many areas, wildlife has been decimated by damaging agricultural practices, poor governance, and simply...

More animal Information

Puffin

Puffin

The puffin and its colorful beak are recognizable all over. There is more to this photogenic bird than just its looks though. Find out more on our fact page

Jaguar

Jaguar

The jaguar (Panthera onca) stands out with its powerful build and distinctive rosettes, marking it as the apex predator of the New World. Residing from Argentina to the US, they favor tropical rainforests and wetlands. Jaguars are solitary, skilled in ambush hunting, primarily feeding on mammals and reptiles. Despite facing threats from habitat loss and hunting, they are vital for ecosystem balance and ecotourism.

Fishing Cat

Fishing Cat

The Fishing Cat is, as its name implies, an excellent fisher. Living in the wetland areas of Southern Asia, fish is its preferred food source but the cat still eats plenty of small mammals and reptiles as well. Sri Lanka is a great place to see one in the wild.

Domestic Cat

Domestic Cat

Yes this is a site for wild animals but the domestic cat is very closely related to other cats and is sometimes found in the wild. Be sure you can distinguish feral and wildcats.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

One of the most elusive of the cats, the snow leopard is found mostly on the Tibetan plateau. Improvements in infrastructure in its habitat makes the cat more accessible than ever and the need to protect it even more urgent.

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion is the most widespread of the cats in the Americas. Also known as the Puma or Cougar, it ranges from Patagonia to Canada and is most often seen in the mountains.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner