Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eurasian Lynx

Lynx lynx
There are four species of Lynx in the world,  and the Eurasian Lynx is the most widely distributed. In fact, it has one of the largest ranges of any cat on the planet! These felines are found from Western Europe, to the steppes of Central Asia, all the way to the far reaches of Siberia-- and their historical range was even larger than that!

After Brown Bears and Wolves, Eurasian Lynxes are the largest predators through most of their range. Though only 45lbs, they are able to stalk and take down much larger prey, including Caribou and Elk. They more commonly feed on smaller ungulates like musk Deer, Roe Deer, and Chamois, and they will also eat the occasional rodent, bird, or rabbit.

Eurasian Lynxes are solitary, with the exception of a mother raising her cubs. She will have as many as four kittens at a time, and they are born blind and helpless. They'll open their eyes after 10-14 days, and will start eating solid food four to six weeks after that. All in all, the cubs will stay with their mother for about ten months, which neatly coincides with when the next breeding season begins!

Overall, the Eurasian Lynx population is large enough that they are considered to be of Least Concern. However, deforestation and hunting have lowered their numbers in some areas, and their current range is now smaller than what it historically was.

They actually were extinct in most of Western and Central Europe until a few decades ago when they were reintroduced to countries like Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. The Lynx are still absent in Britain (where they lived until about 1,500 years ago) but could be reintroduced there as well.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, Asia
Size : Height up to 28in (70cm), Weight up to 45lbs (21kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : Lynx -- Species : L. lynx
Image : Creative Commons

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