Lynx have a short tail and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears; large, padded paws for walking on snow; and long whiskers on the face. Under their neck, they have a ruff which has black bars, is not very visible, and resembles a bow tie.
Body colour varies from medium brown to goldish to beige-white, and is occasionally marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs. All species of lynx have white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs, fur which is an extension of the chest and belly fur. Also, the lynx's coloring, fur length and paw size vary by its climate range—in the Southwestern United States, its short-haired fur is dark and its paws are smaller and less padded.
As the lynx ranges to colder northern climates, its fur gets progressively thicker for warmth, the color gets lighter for camouflage, and its paws enlarge and become more padded for snowy environments. Its paws may become larger than a human hand or foot. The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts the remote northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during frigid winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.
These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.
There are several species of lynx. Few survive in Europe but those that do, like their Asian relatives, are typically larger than their North American counterpart, the Canada lynx.
All lynx are skilled hunters that make use of great hearing (the tufts on their ears are a hearing aid) and eyesight so strong that a lynx can spot a mouse 250 feet away.
Canada lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years. Bigger Eurasian lynx hunt deer and other larger prey in addition to small animals. Lynx mate in early spring or late winter. About two months later, females give birth to a litter of one to four young.
Humans sometimes hunt lynx for their beautiful fur. One endangered population, the Iberian lynx, struggles to survive in the mountains of Spain, far from the cold northern forests where most lynx live. Keep them protected!