It’s one of the most beautiful big cats in the world, and in this post, you’ll discover our top 10 list of facts about the Eurasian lynx.
1. The Eurasian lynx has a vast range
As the name of the animal implies, the Eurasian lynx is native to both Europe and Asia. Their habitat ranges from Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe, all the way through Central Asia and Siberia to the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.
Yes, these medium-sized cats can live in real rough conditions up to an altitude of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet).
2. It’s not considered to be an endangered species
Because they have such a vast range, these animals aren’t considered to be endangered and are marked as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List since 2008.
This doesn’t mean that they are completely safe though because their habitat is still threatened by fragmentation, poaching, and depletion of prey. In Germany, for example, the Eurasian lynx was extinct around the year 1850 but has been reintroduced in Bavarian Forest National Park in the 1990s.
3. There 6 Eurasian lynx subspecies
Because of their vast range, there are a total of 6 recognized subspecies that live in various parts of Europe and Asia. These include:
- Northern lynx – These live in Fennoscandia, Baltic states, Poland, Belarus, European part of the eastern, western, northern, central part of Russia, Ural Mountains, Western Siberia.
- Turkestan lynx – These live in Central Asia.
- Caucasian lynx – Native to the Caucasus mountains.
- Siberian lynx – Lives in Eastern Siberia.
- Balkan lynx – Lives in the Balkan area.
- Carpathian lynx – Lives in the Carpathian Mountains and Central Europe.
4. It’s the biggest of the 4 lynx Species
The Eurasian lynx is the biggest of the 4 lynx species and ranks number 8 in our list with the top 10 biggest cats. On average they stand about 75 centimeters (2.46 feet) tall and can way anywhere between 18 to 38 kilos (40 to 84 lbs).
That being said, the other lynx species, which are the Canada lynx, the Iberian lynx, and the Bobcat, are only slightly shorter than their larger family member.
5. The Eurasian lynx has one fearsome predator
This animal isn’t an alpha predator such as other big cat species as the lion, tiger, or jaguar. It constantly has to be on the lookout for wolves.
These fearsome enemies aren’t just predators that chase away their opponents, they actively hunt and eat them if they fail to hide in a tree fast enough. This results in the Eurasian lynx is a very shy and secretive animal that doesn’t make a lot of noise. They prefer to be left alone and for good reason!
6. They hunt mostly at night or during twilight
Another reason you won’t see the Eurasian lynx frequently is because they mostly hunt at night or during twilight. This way they can both avoid the fearsome wolves and easily ambush their prey in the dark.
Their preferred method is to sneak up on their prey and surprise them by jumping on top of them when they least suspect it. They have great vision and hearing and are very good climbers as well so they might just wait in a tree until an unsuspecting animal passes by.
7. What does the Eurasian lynx eat?
In Europe, the Eurasian lynx can hunt a wide variety of prey. This includes birds, ungulates such as deer and young moose, rabbits, hares, dormice, squirrels, and even wild boar.
In Asia, their diet is much more monotone as between 79% and 99% of their prey consists of European hare, also known as the brown hare. This is peculiar because they do tend to live in areas where there’s plenty of ungulates roaming around, but they don’t seem to include more than 10% of these animals into their diet.
8. The mating season lasts from January to April
While the Eurasian lynx is usually a quiet and reserved animal, they are certainly heard during mating season which lasts from January to April. Mating calls can be very loud and females come into oestrus during this period.
One of the most interesting facts about the Eurasian lynx is that females aren’t limited to just one oestrus period, which usually lasts between 4 to 7 days. If somehow the litter is lost, they can get a second oestrus period between January and April as well.
9. Females build a nest to give birth
Another one of those fun facts about the Eurasian lynx is that females build a little nest referred to as a “den” to raise their kittens in the first months of their lives. This den can consist of feathers, deer hair, and dry grass, and is constructed to make things comfortable for the offspring.
These dens are set up in a very secluded location and often hidden as well with overhanging branches or tree roots.
The Gestation period lasts from 67 to 74 days and the kittens stay with their mother for about 10 months. Two kittens are the most common number. Sexual maturity is reached after 2 to 3 years.
10. What is the lifespan of the Eurasian lynx?
So how long does the Eurasian lynx live exactly?
In the wild, their lifespan is much shorter since they have to fear their main predators and food can become scarce in certain periods. In captivity though, they have lived up to 21 years, which is quite a long time for the average cat!