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Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)



  • This long-legged member of the cat family is about half the length of the cougar and weighs 8 to 14 kilograms (18 to 31 pounds).


Distinguishing traits include:

  • Tufted ears
  • Short tail with a black tip
  • Long dense fur that is frosted-grey in colour with a few dark spots
  • Overall stance, which is somewhat higher at the rump than at the shoulders
  • In Alberta, the lynx is common in mixedwood, montane and foothill life zones.
Natural History


  • Lynx prefer forest with a thick undercover of shrubs and deadfall.
  • The den is usually a rock cavity hidden in dense spruce woods.


  • The lynx is highly dependent on the snowshoe hare for food. Lynx populations tend to cycle over approximately 10-year periods from low to high to low numbers. These cycles roughly follow similar cyclic changes in the snowshoe hare population.
  • When hares are scarce, lynx may be forced to travel great distances in search of alternative foods. At this time they may take the following food:

    • Birds
    • Carrion
    • Deer fawns
    • Lambs of mountain sheep
    • Rodents
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mating takes place in March
  • Three to four kittens are born in the lynx den in May.

Growth Process

  • Food is brought to the den until the kittens are two to three months old, when they join their parents in hunts.
Conservation and Management


The lynx is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Specific season information is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:


Page Information

Updated: Jun 07, 2010