6 lynx facts you need to know

Following the recapture of the escaped Dartmoor zoo lynx and with plans underway to reintroduce to Britain's landscape, here's some facts you need to know about these wild cats


1. There are four different species of lynx


The genus lynx is made up of four species; Eurasian, Canadian, Iberian and Bobcat. The lynx is characterised by its thick coat, compact frame and large paws. Bobcats are slightly more distinguishable from the other species as they have smaller paws with non-furry soles.

2. Lynx were once common in the British Isles

Once a native, the Eurasian lynx used to have a global distribution from the UK all the way to China. However, in the last 2000 years human persecution and habitat destruction led to massive declines in the populations of Western Europe. The last British lynx disappeared around 700 years ago but plans to reintroduce the species in Britain are well underway.

3. The Iberian lynx is the world’s most endangered feline species

Illegal Hunting, road accidents, habitat destruction and lack of available prey are just some of the threats that brought the Iberian lynx to the brink of extinction.

Reintroduction programmes and improved conservation measures have now increased numbers to just over 400 individuals, but the world conservation union, the ICUN still lists them as endangered.

4. They are extremely agile hunters

Lynx are well adapted to their environment; the Canadian lynx even have specialised paws that act like ‘snowshoes’ allowing them to hunt in the deep snow. Black tufts of fur on the ears act as a hearing aid and coupling this with strong eyesight means they can spot a mouse from around 250 feet.

5. They can be hard to spot

Predominately nocturnal, the lynx spends most of the daytime sleeping in caves, rock crevices and bushes. Lynx are also solitary animals and prefer to be alone; except for the 10 months they spend raising a litter.

6. The lynx is very vocal

Around breeding season the lynx can produce a range of sounds from hissing to growls and grunts. Just like your average moggy, lynx do also purr and often a mother will purr to her kittens.


Image: Erwin van Maanen