The cat family is represented by a wide variety of animal species. One of the most spectacular and graceful is the Canadian lynx. This is a very beautiful and incredibly majestic animal. The lynx is by nature an excellent predator. These felines have very sharp teeth and claws, so they have a death grip. Another feature of this animal is its very long and fluffy fur, due to which the species almost ended up on the verge of extinction.
Origin of the species and description
The Canada lynx is a chordate. It is a representative of the mammal class, the order of carnivores, the feline family, the lynx genus, and the Canadian lynx species.
Today, the Canadian lynx population is not numerous, and only two of the previously existing seven subspecies remain:
- L. c. Subsolanus live in Newfoundland;
- L.c. canadensis is found in the northern United States and Canada.
The exact period of the appearance of lynxes has not yet been established. The remains of ancient ancestors and references in the chronicles indicate that these amazing cats lived on earth many millions of years ago.
Zoologists call the ancient cave lynx the ancestor of the modern lynx. It inhabited the territory of modern East Asia, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, and other regions in the Pliocene. Cave lynxes were similar to modern ones, but still outwardly very different from it. They had a long, elongated, not so muscular body. The tail of ancient cats was not so short, and the limbs were not so long. The overall size was much larger than that of modern individuals. In the process of evolution, the limbs became longer, their supporting area increased, the tail became shorter, and the body less elongated.
In the 18th century, people began to kill animals en masse, in very large quantities. Their number in a short time was reduced to a minimum. Animals were on the verge of complete extinction in some regions.
Appearance and features
The appearance of the Canadian lynx is really impressive. Compared to other types of lynx, Canadian cats have more modest body dimensions. The height of the body of the animal at the withers is 60-65 centimeters, and the length is from 80 to 120 centimeters. Body weight ranges from 7 to 15 kilograms. Animals show sexual dimorphism. Female individuals weigh approximately 5-11 kilograms, while males weigh from 7 to 13 kilograms.
Features of the Canadian lynx:
- elongated, elongated tassels on the ears made of wool. The length of the brushes is about 5-6 centimeters. The ears are triangular in shape, not too large, but slightly tilted forward;
- the presence of fluffy sideburns on the muzzle. In the cold season, they become thicker and longer, even covering the neck area;
- round pupils;
- shortened muzzle;
- powerful, strong limbs with well-developed muscles. It is in Canadian lynxes that the hind limbs are somewhat longer than the front ones. Such strong powerful limbs contribute to an even distribution of body weight;
- very thick and long hair, which protects the body of the animal in the cold season, and prevents moisture loss in the summer heat.
The tail of the Canadian lynx, like other species, is short, chopped off. It always ends with a black tip. The color of the European lynx is dominated by a reddish-brown color. In summer, in the warm season, there is a yellowish tint in the color. In winter, the coat becomes dirty gray.
The back always has a darker shade. The abdomen is lighter in relation to the rest of the body and limbs. Most individuals have dark spots on the body. The jaws of these representatives of the cat family have 28 teeth, four long fangs and four predatory teeth, with the help of which the predator crushes and grinds its food.
An interesting fact: The fangs are pierced with nerve endings, thanks to which animals feel exactly where they bite their prey.
Such a structure of the jaw and a large number of nerve endings do not leave the victim any chance of salvation.
Where does the Canada lynx live?
The Canada lynx has a very wide habitat. In general, it is about 7.6-7.9 million hectares.
Geographical habitat of animals:
- North America;
- Some regions of New -Brownsquick.
In Alaska, animals live almost everywhere, with the exception of the Yukon Delta, Kuskokwim, and the southern regions of the peninsula. Most often, Canadian lynxes can be found in forests with dense vegetation. Often they live in the tundra, on rocky terrain. They are extremely rare in open regions.
In former times, the habitat of this representative of the cat family was more extensive. Animals in large numbers inhabited the Arctic, taiga. Canada lynxes were often found in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Zoologists draw an analogy with the habitat of the American hare, which is the main source of food. Lynxes choose those places to live, where they can go unnoticed and hunt calmly.
Predatory cats try to avoid encounters with humans, although they often live in close proximity to human settlements. They are very careful. In some cases, in the absence of a sufficient food supply, lynxes hunt poultry.
What does the Canadian lynx eat?
By nature, this representative of the cat family is a predator. He is considered an incredible hunter, tenacious, strong, very plastic and careful. Canadian lynxes feed mainly on hare. One adult Canadian lynx eats on average up to two hundred forest long-eared inhabitants per year. Every day, one adult needs from 0.5 to 1.4 kilograms of food. In the predatory region, forest hares breed incredibly quickly, and lynxes regulate their numbers in their natural habitat. Hare makes up about 80% of the Canadian lynx’s diet. There are other types of living creatures that lynxes feed on.
What can become an object of hunting for Canada lynx:
- wild goats, roe deer, deer;
- small rodents;
In some cases, when there is not enough food supply in natural conditions, predators can go to human settlements and hunt poultry and other animals. In forest areas, they can eat the remains of hunters’ prey.
Canadian lynxes hunt solely to feed themselves and get food for their offspring. If a predator is not hungry, it will never kill. Lynxes are quite thrifty animals. If they managed to catch large prey, and after saturation there is still food left, lynxes hide it in hiding places. Caches are made by burying prey in the ground or by digging holes in the snow into which the prey hides. Such hiding places are often destroyed by other predators, so cats are left without their supplies.
Predators hunt mainly in the dark. It is at this time that the hares are most active and come out of their holes. Cats are able to feel the approach of prey at a distance of several kilometers thanks to their incredible sense of smell and sense of smell. Predators pursue prey and attack with one jump. In most cases they hunt alone. There are cases of group strategic hunting, when young individuals frighten prey, and an adult female, which is in ambush, grabs and kills it.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
These representatives of the cat family are tied to the occupied territory. They tend to occupy a certain territory, which is divided between individual individuals. These are solitary animals that do not tend to exist within a group. Adult individuals diligently avoid each other, the only exception is the cold season, when the time of reproduction comes.
The habitat of different males never intersects. The habitat area of female individuals may overlap with the habitat area of males. On average, the size of the habitat of one female is from 5 to 25 square kilometers. Males require a larger territory (up to 65-100 square kilometers). Each individual marks the boundaries of his possessions with urine and claw marks on trees and shrubs.
Lynxes are very cautious and prudent animals. They rarely give voice and try not to show themselves in front of anyone. They tend to lead a mostly nocturnal lifestyle. Lynxes are naturally endowed with excellent hearing, vision and a very sharp sense of smell and smell. In the process of searching for food, or tracking prey, predatory cats can travel up to 17-20 kilometers or more per night. During the day, they mostly rest in their hiding places. Lynxes always go hunting alone. The exception is female individuals who teach their offspring to hunt. Canadian lynxes can drag their prey up trees, or bury the excess in snow or earth.
The average life expectancy of animals in natural conditions is about 10-14 years. Under artificially created conditions, life expectancy can increase up to 20 years.
Social structure and reproduction
The reproduction of Canadian lynxes is not well understood. Basically, lynxes lead a solitary lifestyle. They only meet during the breeding season. The mating season begins with the onset of spring, in the month of March. It does not last long and ends in the second half of April. Females reach sexual maturity earlier than males, at about two years of age. Males become sexually mature about a year later. Individuals of the opposite sex are found in neutral territory exclusively for procreation.
Females are ready for mating for 3-6 days, no more. Immediately after mating, individuals of the opposite sex return to their possessions. Pregnancy of the female lasts 9-9.5 weeks. One female can give birth to 1 to 4 cubs. With an abundance of food, the number of offspring can double. If the year is hungry, then adults do not mate and do not give offspring.
Before giving birth, the female chooses a secluded place. Usually they look for a den under the roots of trees, or in the forest thicket under deadwood. The weight of one small lynx at birth is from 180 to 330 grams. Kittens are born blind. Their torso is covered with thick wool, which warms them and protects them from the wind. On the 10-14th day, the eyes of the babies open. Mom feeds her offspring with milk for up to three and a half months.
Lynx cubs, like any other animals, develop depending on the abundance of food supply. If there is enough food, then the young are gaining up to 4.5-5 kilograms by the end of their first winter. If there is a hungry year, then 50% -70% of kittens die without surviving the cold.
The first time lynxes go with their mother for prey at about the age of 5 weeks. At first they are only observers. They become participants in the hunt only by 6-7 months. Reaching 10-11 months, all young lynxes are separated from their mother and begin to lead an independent lifestyle. Each of them is looking for a piece of land on which they can settle. In search of an unoccupied place, they sometimes have to travel long distances up to 700 – 1000 kilometers.
Natural enemies of Canada lynxes
Canadian lynxes are very cautious and graceful animals. They rarely go out into the open, almost never give a voice. Animals have practically no enemies in their natural habitat. Zoologists have not described cases of attacks by other predators on lynxes. However, young kittens are very vulnerable and are easy prey for larger predators. Juveniles are threatened by larger predators: bears or wolves.
There have been cases of attacks on Canadian lynxes and other predatory animals:
Adults are considered virtually invulnerable. They have not only natural caution, plasticity and the ability to develop great speed, but they also have an excellent sense of smell and incredible flair. They are able to sense their enemies from a distance. In the event that a meeting with enemies occurred unexpectedly, lynxes can easily get away from him, as they are able to climb trees.
Another enemy that poses the greatest danger to Canadian lynxes is a person. It was his activities that led to the fact that these amazing animals were on the verge of extinction. Lynxes were shot in large numbers because of the valuable fur. People not only destroyed animals and their young, but also destroyed their natural habitat.
Population and species status
The Canadian lynx occupies a very important place in the ecosystem. They regulate the number of hares in the habitat. The number of predators themselves is regularly decreasing. The main reason for this situation is human activity.
People are destroying animals and their young on an industrial scale. According to zoologists, today the number of animals in the world does not exceed 50,000 individuals. The most numerous populations are observed where the largest accumulation of hares. There are regions where the density of individuals is quite high – up to 35 individuals per hundred square meters.
Poaching is not the only reason for the extinction of the species. Humans are destroying the natural habitats of animals. They cut down forests, which deprive cats of their homes, dooming them to death. Another factor that contributes to the decline in the number of animals is climate change and warming.
People kill cats for their valuable fur. It is highly valued on the black market. The fewer individuals remain in nature, the higher the cost for the fur of a predatory beauty rises. The meat of animals also has excellent taste characteristics, and is somewhat reminiscent of veal, however, in many European countries it is not customary to eat the meat of this animal.
Protection of Canadian lynxes
Today, in some regions of the United States of America, North American lynxes are under the threat disappearance. In this regard, the Canadian lynx is included in Appendix II of CITES. These graceful predators were also included in the list of animals that are endangered in America.
Today, hunting for this amazingly beautiful animal is officially prohibited at the legislative level. Violation of this requirement threatens with a large fine and an administrative offense. In addition, the American authorities have included the animal in the list of protected animals in 48 states. In addition to the ban on hunting, the conservation service introduced restrictions on the mining industry in the area where the animal lives.
Today, special nurseries are being created in the United States, where experienced zoologists create optimally comfortable conditions for the existence and reproduction of Canada lynxes. These animals feel quite comfortable in national parks and specialized nurseries. Animals, although very cautious, quickly get used to the people who take care of them. Canadian lynxes also live and breed in several national parks in America.
Today, people understand their mistakes and in many ways strive to correct them. The Canadian lynx is a very graceful and incredibly beautiful animal that plays an important role in the ecosystem.