Hinterland Who’s Who
Scientific Name Lynx canadensis Habitat
Even though the Canada Lynx lives almost all over Canada, it’s really hard to see it in the wild! This secretive feline is most active at night, hiding and hunting under the cover of the forest trees. It is most common in old-growth boreal forest, but it can live in any forested area.
Size and colour
The Canada Lynx looks a bit like a large domestic cat. It has a short tail, long legs, large feet (which act like snowshoes in the deep snow) and hair sticking out of the top of its ears. During the winter, it’s light grey and slightly spotted, while in the summer, its fur is shorter and more reddish brown. The tips of its tail and ears are always black. The Bobcat, another wild feline living in Canada, is similar to the Lynx but is slightly smaller, has smaller feet and has more spots on its reddish fur.
Canada Lynx absolutely have a favourite meal: the Snowshoe Hare! This prey makes up about three-fourths of its diet, but in the summer especially, lynxes may also eat grouse, voles, mice, squirrels and foxes. A hungry lynx will devour an entire hare in one meal! It may also hide a part of its prey as a snack for later.
Lynx hunt at night
They don’t track their prey by smell. They prefer to watch silently and listen for their meal. Because they cannot run fast except over short distances, they stalk or ambush their prey at close range. A common strategy is to lie in wait beside well-used trails until a hare comes close enough to pounce on.
How is it Doing?
In the past, Canada Lynx were trapped in such great numbers that they almost disappeared from some areas. Now, even though trapping is still going on, rules and regulations are helping to keep lynx populations healthy. Even if the Canada Lynx is doing well in Canada, it does tend to live in older forests, which are under pressure from logging. It’s important to keep large areas of forests around to make sure that lynx continue to thrive!
What You Can Do
When you get out to spend time in a forest, take only pictures, and leave only footprints! It’s important to keep the Canada Lynx’s habitat as clean as possible. Using recycled paper, when you can, can also lend a hand in preserving our forest habitats.
What the Canadian Wildlife Federation is Doing
CWF has done many projects to help the Canada Lynx’s boreal forest habitat. By knowing more about how the forest works, and how we can protect it, we’re helping the Canada Lynx and other critters living there.