Canada lynx

(Lynx canadensis)

Conservation Status
Canada lynx
Photo by Ramona Abrego
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N4? - Apparently Secure

S3 - Vulnerable




special concern


Canada lynx is one of three wild cats found in Minnesota. It occurs throughout Canada and Alaska, where it is considered common. In the United States it is resident in Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and Washington, and it was successfully reintroduced into Colorado. In Minnesota it is a rare resident in the Arrowhead region, a rare visitor in the north-central region, and absent in the remainder of the state (IUCN). It may venture much farther south when populations of snowshoe hares drop in the north.

Canada lynx is a medium-sized wild cat. Adults are 29 to 42 long not including the tail. It is about two times as large as a house cat and looks similar to the closely-related bobcat. The fur (pelage) is highly variable in color. It is usually yellowish-brown above but may be grayish-brown, grayish-buff, or silvery-gray with an icy sheen (“blue”). In each case the color is uniform above with little to no dark markings. The underparts are white and may have a few dark spots. The tail is stubby, 2 to 5 long, and has a completely black tip. The ears each have a tuft of erect black hairs about 1 long. In the winter the hair on each side of the face lengthens, giving a ruffled look. The feet are very large, optimized for walking on soft snow.




Total length: 29 to 42

Tail: 2 to 5






Similar Species


Forests, swamps








10 to 14.5 years in the wild


Life Cycle






Mostly snowshoe hares, but also rodents and birds.


Distribution Map



6, 15, 29, 30.

    Normal range, resident and visitor  
    Years of low supply of snowshoe hares in the north: 1962-63 and 1972-73  



Common in Canada. Uncommon in northern United States. Rare in Minnesota.

  Class Mammalia (mammals)  
  Subclass Theria  
  Infraclass Eutheria (placentals)  
  Magnorder Boreoeutheria  
  Superorder Laurasiatheria  
  Order Carnivora (carnivores)  
  Suborder Feliformia (cat-like carnivores)  


Felidae (cat)  


Felinae (small cats)  


Lynx (bobcats, lynxes)  

Subordinate Taxa


Unitl recently, three subspecies of Lynx canadensis were recognized. In 2017, following a revision of the family Felidae, the subspecies were rejected due to the similarity of morphological characteristics.




Felis lynx

Lynx lynx


Common Names


Canada lynx

Canadian lynx












The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.

Visitor Photos

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Ramona Abrego


Captive cat

    Canada lynx   Canada lynx  
    Canada lynx      

Captive – Wildlife Science Center

    Canada lynx      








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Epic Hunting Chase of the Canadian Lynx and Snowshoe Hare in HD
The Animal Experts

Jul 15, 2015

One of nature's greatest moments comes to life between 2 animals living in a snow covered terrain, it’s the Epic life or death chase of the Canadian Lynx and the Snowshoe Hare. Epic does not get better than this. Enjoy.

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  Canada Lynx Family on the Hunt...
ThomasJSpence images

Feb 25, 2018

This family of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) hunts well together. While the kittens are in the roadside woods stalking snowshoe hare, the mother waits in the road for them to flush the hare into the roadway. Though I missed the actual flush and grab, I was able to catch the before and after. The actual kill happened in about 3 seconds and I had lowered the camera for a few seconds to watch, so I missed it :). It's unbelievable how fast they are. The mother then makes sure the hare is dead, then tears it into a few pieces so everyone can have a chunk to dine on. The whole hunt, kill and eat lasted about an hour and a half. They were not too concerned with my presence. At one point, three of the cats walked RIGHT by me as I took photos. After they ate, they lounged in the road for 15 minutes, licking paws, laying down, then they resumed the hunt for more hare. I have read that they will eat about one snowshoe hare per day, so they still had a lot of hunting to do to feed the group.




Visitor Sightings

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  Ramona Abrego

Location: Wildlife Science Center


Canada lynx

  Ramona Abrego

Location: Wildlife Science Center

Captive cat

Canada lynx







Created: 6/29/2020

Last Updated:

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