December 19, 1997
With a pounce and a hop the speedy lynx chases the bleached white hare through the bushes. Poof! The hare disappears into the shiny white powder. Then the sly lynx picks up the scent of the hare and pounces toward the small hairball. The sharp elongated claws donÕt dig in, and the hareÕs long slender legs launch himself out of the hole and out of danger. The swift cat swings his claws around to hit the fast hare, but he hits the snow right under his back legs. The hare runs right between two willow trees and into a narrow opening which has a bunch of fallen willow trees. The hare has escaped from the lynx this one time, but the lynx will find other food.
The lynx is a pale brown to brownish grey with black streaks on its neck, forehead, and on the back. It has a short tail, long tuffed ears, long slender legs, wide feet for control in the snow, and long very soft fur. The lynx will grow to be 30 to 40 inches long, and 24 to 28 inches high from feet to shoulders. They usually weight 15 to 45 pounds. When you see the lynx, at first sight, it looks gaunt and lanky, but it is really fast and muscular. The back legs are longer than the fore legs for better pouncing ability. ÒFrom the front the lynx looks royal with its hair on its face coming out to two pointsÓ (Myers 136).
The lynx is closely related to the bobcat, which populates the north American region. The bobcat does not have big fluffy paws, or is not as big as the lynx in relative size. They have two different food varieties. The lynx eats hares ,and also may prey on small deer, dall sheep, grouse, mice. Rarely they feed on fish. On the other hand bobcats feed on grouse , fish, and other small rodents.
Lynx chase and still hunt their prey. They chase hares or they stay up on cliffs and branches, and waiting to pounce on the animal as it goes by.
The lynx ranges from Alaska, all the way across Canada. The lynx are usually found in climax forests and dense undercovers. They are usually found where hares are abundant. If there are no hares in the vicinity, they travel out into the tundra to find food.
ÒLynx breed during March and April. The gestation period is 60 days longÓ ( Myers 135) . They will have from 1- 4 kittens each year. They usually have dens, where they keep their kittens, in hollow trees or under a pile of brush. The kittens stay with the female until well into the next winter. The kittens donÕt open their eyes until 10 days after birth. They also only nurse for 3 to 4 months.
When the population of the hares are up the litters of 2 to 4 kittens have a lot better chance to survive in the wilderness with their parents. When food is not abundant the female lynx might not have a litter at all that year or not until the hares have come back.
Lynx usually are silent, but the males make a screeching noise to find a mate during breeding season. The weird thing about the lynx is when it is in a trap. It doesnÕt make a sound. It sits there calmly accepting its death.
The Lynx are sly creatures that prowl at night to find their food. That is usually the reason why people donÕt see the lynx out in the wilderness a lot. The lynx are sensitive to bright light, because their eyes are made to see at night.
Adult males usually hunt alone, not in packs like wolves.The females usually hunt with their family if the kittens are old enough to go along. The kits hunt with their mother and learn skills from her until they leave in the fallowing winter.
The huge feet of the lynx give it superb agility in the snow. The lynx has been known to chase down slow clumsy fox that has slim and slender feet that donÕt give them any leverage on top of the snow.
Trapping lynx is not particularly easy. Trappers use both snares and traps on the lynx. An abundant number of hares means there will be a lot of lynx that year. In the years when lynx are abundant, a good trapper may take a dozen in a month. The fine fur of the lynx is used to make fine coats, collars, coat trimmings, jackets, hats, and muffs. The average cost of a lynx pelt is $125 ( a nice large male coat with good dark colors). ÒEvery year trappers take from $8,000 to $10,000 in money from lynx peltsÓ (Reader 52).
My family (Jacob , Dad, and I) use cubbyÕs to catch our lynx. A cubby is a den made out of sticks with one trap on the ground and the bait in the back. A cubby is usually 4 feet high and 3 feet wide so the lynx has a pretty good chance of getting his foot caught in a trap. We usually use ptarmagin wings Which were shot earlier in the year.
Trappers in the small villages of Alaska eat the pale lynx meat that tastes like veal (they say). When the trapper gets the fur, he usually puts it in a bag with flea killer to get rid of all the bugs on the lynx's pelt.
The population of lynx vary all over the state as the population of hares move, the lynx follow. The population of lynx may vary from the climate and the water sources to the dense under cover of forests. One place in the Tanana Valley may have all the things that a lynx needs so there will be lots of kits born and the population will increase. Ten miles from that spot there may be no lynx because of the lack of resources. Most of the lynx are caught in the Upper Tanana-White River country and south to the Alaska Range.
This report I found was really interesting, and even though I trap lynx there is lots that I donÕt know about these sly creatures. These tricky mammals have lots of things that amaze me like they may eat big animals like dall sheep and deer. Overall I think that lynx are one of my favorite animals in Alaska.
1.ÒAlaska,ÓNational Geographic, (May 1994) vol.185,p.89.
2. ÒLynx,Ó Alaska Mammals, (December 1981) vol.8, p.52.
3. ÒLynx,Ó CollierÕs Encyclopedia, P.F. Collier & Jon LTD.,1983, vol.15,
Word Count: 1090