Scientific name: Lynx lynx


Eurasian lynx are the largest of the lynx subspecies.  They measure 80-130cm in length with a 11-25cm tail, and stand about 70cm at the shoulder.  They weigh between 10 and 35kg, with males larger than females.  There is significant colour variation but the thick winter coat is normally silver-grey and the short summer coat a reddish-brown.   It is spotted with black and the underparts are white, whatever the season.  They have black tufts on their ears and a short bobbed tail with a black tip.

 Habitat and Distribution

Lynx generally inhabited forested areas that have a good population of ungulates.  In central Asia they are found in more open, thinly wooded areas and in the Himalayas in barren, rocky zones above the treeline.

The Eurasian lynx is one of the most widely distributed felids.  The majority of the range is within the borders of Russia but within Europe there is a large but isolated population in the Carpathian mountains and and smaller populations in the Alps, Pyrenees, Vosges mountains and Jura mountains.  The northern European population extends through Finland, Sweden, Norway and North-east Poland and is connected to the larger Siberian population.  The species has been reintroduced to several countries in Europe but remain extinct in the wild within the UK.

Global distribution of the Eurasian lynx (IUCN 2011)


Lynx take a variety of species, ranging from small mammals such as rabbits and hares up to small red deer.  Roe deer and chamois are the most commonly taken prey.  They also eat birds such as grouse but are opportunistic and will feed on carrion and anything else that is available, with fox and wild boar sometimes taken.  Lynx are forest-loving species and often ambush prey.  They are mainly nocturnal, hunting at night, and spend most of the day resting in dense thickets.


Females reach sexual maturity at two years old and males when they are three.  Mating occurs in February-April and the gestation period is 69 days. The female will normally give birth to two kittens in a den and these remain with her for ten months before becoming independent.

Status and threats

Lynx are classified by the IUCN as ‘Least Concern’ due to their wide range.  They are listed on Appendix II of CITES and protected under Appendix III of the Bern Convention.  The principal threat to lynx populations is habitat destruction through deforestation, causing a decrease in the range of both lynx and their principal prey, deer.  Over-hunting remains a problem in some areas and increasing human populations and conversion of land for agriculture further restrict its range.  They remain extinct from the wild in the UK.