Quick facts

Common names: lynx, Eurasian lynx

Scientific name: Lynx lynx

Family: Felidae (cats)

Habitat: dense woodland, mountain slopes

Diet: roe deer, small mammals, birds

Predators: wolves

Origin: native

What do lynx look like?

Eurasian lynx are typically a little smaller than a Labrador dog, with long legs and webbed paws – ideal for navigating the snow. They have thick, greyish-brown fur with black spots that vary in prominence. Their belly is completely white.

This species has pointed black-tipped ears (to improve its hearing) as well as a thick ruff of white hair around its neck. It also has a black-tipped bobtail. The Eurasian lynx stands at around 60-75cm tall and weighs around 15-30kg.

Lynx catches dove.

Credit: Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

What do lynx eat?

While the diet of this species varies depending on its range, it feeds predominantly on roe deer, where available. It also eats red deer, birds, rabbits, hares, rodents and foxes. Lynx have brilliant hearing and eyesight, making them exceptional hunters. They hunt by quietly stalking and pouncing on their prey, and have been known to bring down prey four times their size.

Lynx

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Did you know?

Lynx are crepuscular, meaning they’re active during dawn and dusk and spend most of the day asleep.

How do lynx breed?

Lynx breed towards the end of winter, around February to March. Female lynx will become very vocal and leave scent marks in order to attract a mate. Once pregnant, females will find a cosy den, before giving birth to two or three kittens.

After six weeks the kittens are ready to leave the den, and are fully weaned after around six months. They become independent at approximately 10-months-old.

Where do lynx live?

Lynx favour dense woodland, as it is ideal for hunting, as well as rocky mountain slopes. They are found across Eurasia, from France in the west to Siberia in the east. 

Eurasian lynx sitting in woodland.

Credit: James Dale / Alamy Stock Photo

Threats and conservation

The lynx was sadly hunted to extinction in western Europe, but due to a combination of legal protection and reintroductions it is making a slow recovery. It has been reintroduced in several European countries, including Germany, Switzerland and France.

An application to trial the reintroduction of lynx into the Kielder Forest in Northumberland was rejected by the Government in 2018. The organisation behind the project, the Lynx UK Trust, has expressed a desire to reapply for a reintroduction in the future. 

Did you know?

Lynx have exceptionally good eyesight – they can spot a mouse up to 250ft away.