The Canada lynx Lynx canadensis is a beautiful wild felid, or cat, of the boreal forest, or northernmost forest in the Northern Hemisphere. The lynx resembles a very large domestic cat. It has a short tail, long legs, large feet, and prominent ear tufts. Its winter coat is light grey and slightly mottled with long guard hairs; the underfur is brownish, and the ear tufts and tip of the tail are black. The summer coat is much shorter than the winter coat and has a definite reddish brown cast.
Its large feet, which are covered during winter by a dense growth of coarse hair, help the lynx to travel over snow. The lynx, like the snowshoe hare, can spread its toes in soft snow, expanding its "snowshoes" still farther.
The lynx has large eyes and ears and depends on its acute sight and hearing when hunting. The lynx’s claws, like those of most other cats, are retractable and used primarily for seizing prey and fighting.
Of the three Canadian members of the cat family (Felidae)—the lynx, the bobcat, and the cougar—the lynx and the bobcat are most alike and are most closely related to each other. They probably both descended from the larger Eurasian lynx. There are small differences in appearance: on average, bobcats are slightly smaller; the bobcat’s feet are not as large as those of the lynx, making the bobcat less able to secure food in deep snow; the lynx’s tail has a solid black tip, whereas that of the bobcat has three or four narrow black bars and a black spot near the tip on its upper surface; and the bobcat’s fur has more pronounced spotting. The cougar is much larger and more powerful than either of them, and can be readily identified by its long tail.
Signs and sounds
The lynx has a variety of vocalizations, like those made by house cats, but louder.