Canada Lynx

From Ohio History Central


Scientific Name: Lynx canadensis
Habitat: Forests, tundra, swamps and rocky areas
Adult Weight: 15 - 30 lbs.
Adult Body Length: 32 -36 inches; tail 4 inches
Breeding Period: January to February
Litters Per Year: 1
Litter Size: 3 - 5
Life Expectancy: 15 years
Foods: Carnivore - They rely heavily on the snowshoe hare population. Studies reveal that when the hare population declines, the lynx have fewer young, causing lynx populations to drop. Diet also includes small rodents, ground birds and white-tailed deer.


The Canada Lynx is a cat native to colder climates. It has thick fur and their feet are wide, acting like snowshoes in the winter. This allows them to chase prey on top of the snow. It looks very similar to the Bobcat, but the entire tip of its ears and tail are black. This coloring helps to protect them from freezing.

Originally, Canada Lynx could be found throughout the northern United States. With increasing settlement of the country, their range was reduced.

The Canada Lynx is nocturnal.



American Indians did not disturb the Canada Lynx. Early trappers most likely trapped the cat for its thick, spotted fur.


Canada Lynx have been mentioned in the diaries of many early Ohio residents. However, these writings often refer to them as "panthers" and "wildcats" – terms that were also used for the Cougar and Bobcat, making an accurate identification difficult. Moravian missionary David Zeisberger described the Canada Lynx as "…a variety of wild cat, other than the kind already mentioned [bobcat]. This is very savage, even attacking a deer and killing it."

As forests were cleared and more settlers entered the area, the Canada Lynx began to leave Ohio

Nineteenth Century

Canada Lynx were extirpated from Ohio by the middle of the century.

Twentieth Century

Over-trapping, logging and the destruction of Canada Lynx habitat has caused populations to decline dramatically.

Larger populations of Canada Lynx can be found today in Canada and Alaska. In the contiguous United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service believes they are present in Maine, Montana, Washington and possibly Minnesota.

On March 24, 2000, the United States population of the Canada Lynx (outside of Alaska) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

See Also