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Lynx Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

You're about to learn about a cat. But this cat is no ordinary housecat. The lynx is a member of the cat family that lives outside in the cold weather. Learn about the lynx, what it looks like, and how it lives its life.

The Stealthy Lynx

Did you ever watch a cat hunt a mouse? It looks like the cat is playing a game because it patiently watches the mouse and slowly creeps toward it before pouncing. The lynx is a cat that hunts like this in the wild. A lynx is not a fast animal, so it relies on surprise attacks to capture its dinner.

A lynx stalking its prey
lynx

Where Do They Live?

The four species of lynx live in different parts of the world. The Eurasian lynx lives in or near Europe, the Spanish lynx lives in or near Spain, the Canadian lynx lives in Canada, and the bobcat lives in North America, including parts of the United States.

Except for the bobcat, most lynx live in very cold climates and can be found in forests, prairies and shrub lands. They are active at night, and they keep themselves hidden during the day in dens or caves or behind fallen trees and brush.

What Do They Look Like and What Do They Eat?

Lynx wear thick fur coats, which help them survive the cold weather. Their coats are light brown and covered with black marks or spots.

Lynx that live in cold environments have big fur-covered paws that spread out when they hit the ground. These big paws act like built-in snowshoes and help the lynx travel through the snow.

Lynx vary in size depending on the species, but in general, their bodies are about 32 to 44 inches long, and they weigh about 22 to 44 pounds. So they're quite a bit bigger than a housecat; they measure up more in size to a medium-sized dog.

The stubby tail and pointy ears of a lynx. See the big paws that act like snowshoes?
lynx

Lynx are best known for their short, stubby tails, and the tufts of black hair above their ears. Scientists aren't sure if these tufts of hair serve a purpose, but they might act like whiskers, or help sharpen the lynx's excellent sense of hearing.

Lynx are carnivores, which means they eat meat. They hunt during the night and ambush their prey as it walks by. Larger species of lynx will eat deer or other big animals, but typical prey includes small animals like mice, squirrels, rabbits or hares.

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