A relatively small feline predator, male lynx may weigh as much as 48 pounds and grow longer than 4 feet. The lynx will hunt prey three or four times its size - like reindeer - but its main prey are smaller animals like hares, rodents, small deer and birds such as grouse. A solitary and nocturnal creature, it stalks its prey alone or lies in wait. A lynx may live as long as 17 years in the wild or 24 years in captivity.
The word “lynx” is derived from a Greek word meaning “to shine” - presumably referring to its reflective eyes. But perhaps the most distinctive features of the lynx are its tufted ears and cheeks and a short tail, only 1.5-3 inches long. Sometimes confused with its smaller cousin, the bobcat, the lynx may be distinguished by the tip of its tail, which is entirely black. Its spotted pattern varies, fluctuating between pronounced and muted throughout its European and Asian range.
Once common in Europe, the lynx was widely extirpated over much of the range, then reintroduced beginning in the 1970s. The largest European populations are now in north Europe and the Balkans, with the largest worldwide population found in southern Siberia. Little is known of the lynx in its wide central Asian range.
The IUCN lists the species as Near Threatened, estimating the global population to be less than 50,000 breeding individuals. Like many predators, its decline is linked to loss of habitat and prey.May 07, 2012