Species: Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
Favourite food: Chicken and beef, yum!
How he got his name: We asked our community to choose and Hudson received the most votes
Natural behaviours: Hudson is great at jumping and pouncing
Favourite thing to do at the Earth Rangers Centre: Play time with the trainers
Here’s what Animal Trainer Jessica has to say about Hudson
Every time that I hang out with Hudson he makes me smile and brightens my day. He is always so happy to see me, purring like crazy while he rubs on my legs trying to get back scratches. He’s just one of the reasons I love my job!
- Their large furry paws and long legs help them to move across deep snow, just like snowshoes!
- Lynx are one of the widest ranging cats in the world
- Eurasian lynx mostly feed on ungulates (hoofed mammals)
- They can hunt prey 3-4 times their size and consume 1 to 2 kg of meat per day
- They are listed by the IUCN Red List as Least Concern
Eurasian lynx are one of the largest predators in Europe, and the biggest of the four lynx species. Their coat is long and very dense, especially in winter. They range in colour from brownish to silver-grey with some rusty and yellowish tints. Eurasian lynx have long legs, sharp retractable claws, a round face, triangular ears with black tufts and a short black-tipped tail. Their paws are large and fur-covered, which helps them to move through deep snow. They are most active in the morning and evening hours, spending the daylight hours and night resting under the cover of brush, tall grasses or in a tree. As solitary animals, the only long lasting relationship they form is between a mother and her cubs. Lynx are terrestrial, spending their time on land, but they are also excellent at climbing and swimming. Little is known about communication among Eurasian lynx because their vocalizations are low and not often heard. They have keen eyesight and hearing, which they use to locate prey and find potential mates.
Eurasian lynx are one of the most widely distributed cat species in the world. The majority of the Eurasian lynx, approximately 75%, live in Russia. The Eurasian lynx population in Russia is estimated at 30,000 to 35,000. They once lived throughout Russia, Central Asia, and Europe but habitat loss and hunting has decreased their population. Today, they occupy a range from Western Europe through the Russian boreal forests to the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia. Eurasian lynx live in a variety of habitats. In Europe and Siberia they inhabit forested areas, while in Central Asia they are found in open, thinly wooded areas and rocky hills as well as mountains in desert regions. They are also found in rocky areas and thick woodlands throughout the northern slopes of the Himalayas. Eurasian lynx live in home ranges that are between 25 to 2800 km2. Their ranges vary in size to such a big degree because of differences in the type of habitat, density of population and the availability of food. Home ranges may overlap greatly with their offspring, and males and females may have territory that are connected.
They are one of the largest carnivores in Europe. Because they are a top predator, they play a major role in controlling the populations of other animals, such as deer. This population control is important to ensure that an ecosystem remains balanced. They have no natural predators, but there have been some reported attacks by tigers, wolves, and wolverines.
Eurasian lynx are strict carnivores, while other lynx species, such as the Canadian lynx, are specialized rabbit and hare hunters, the Eurasian lynx prey primarily on ungulates (hooved mammals like deer). Small ungulates, such as roe deer and musk deer, make up most of their diet. They can prey on animals 3 to 4 times their size and consume 1 to 2 kg of meat per day. In the winter, they hunt elk and caribou because the deep snow makes these larger hoofed animals more vulnerable to predators. Eurasian lynx will also eat red foxes, rabbits, hares, rodents and birds. Lynx will stalk their prey from the cover of thick vegetation, fallen logs and snow. Using stealth, they will sneak up on their prey then, with a quick burst of speed, they will pounce and deliver a fatal bite to the neck or snout. Eurasian lynx are also good climbers and can use trees as a platform to attack prey from above.
Eurasian lynx will seek out a mate from February to May. The couple will follow each other for many days; during this time the females will only be fertile for about three days. Once the female stops being fertile the male will go off in search of another mate. Mothers give birth 67 to 74 days later in May; they will use a safe den to have their young located in such places as a hollow log or crevice. Females that already have a litter will breed every three years, while those without young will breed every year. There are usually two to three cubs in a litter and the newborns weigh around 300 to 350g. At birth, the cubs are completely dependent on their mother for food and protection; males do not help with the care of the young. After four months the cubs are weaned and by ten months they become independent. By two years old females are mature enough to mate while males wait until they are three years old.
Status: Cites Appendix II; IUCN Red List - Least Concern
The main threats to the Eurasian lynx are habitat loss due to deforestation, prey loss due to game hunting, and illegal hunting and trapping for the fur trade. In the early 1900’s Eurasian lynx came close to being endangered as a result of these threats. Today, commercial hunting is illegal in all countries except Russia and Eurasian lynx are protected in Afghanistan, where all hunting and trading is illegal. In the 1960’s and 70’s, some Eurasian lynx were re-introduced into Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland; these populations have been successful in some areas. The Eurasian lynx is currently listed by the IUCN Red List as Least Concern. European countries continue to monitor their populations and work to ensure their protection.