A lynx is a long-legged, short tailed cat with large paws known for the long black tufts extending from the tips of their ears. Sleek, graceful creatures, the lynx typically can reach a height of over two feet tall and can weigh from 20 to 50 pounds on average, depending on factors such as the species and gender.
There are four species of these large felines, two of which live in North America: the Canada lynx and the bobcat. The other two roam Europe and are the Eurasia lynx and the seriously endangered Iberian lynx.
These beautiful creatures look like a version of your house cat, upgraded in size and sporting a luxurious fur coat, often complemented with gorgeous spotting. It makes you want to walk up and give them a nice scratch behind the ears or under the chin.
. . . but should you?
Let’s take an in-depth look at this magnificent species and evaluate just how dangerous these tufted felines actually can be.
The Life of the Lynx
A skilled predator, the lynx typically targets smaller prey, such as mice, squirrels, and even birds. Some species have a special fondness for the snowshoe hare. Larger species have been known to hunt larger prey such as deer, as well.
Typically living thirteen years or more, the lynx typically enjoy their solitude, but may live in small groups within forests that have a lot of scrub in which they can hide.
While they are adept at stalking their prey on the ground, they are also great climbers and can spend time lounging about in the branches of trees. These cats have no problem getting wet, as they are powerful swimmers as well. They can achieve speeds of up to 50 mph when running.
The lynx hunts in a way that is not unfamiliar to anyone who has a house cat. Typically, it will hide and sneak towards its prey, then pounce, usually targeting the neck for its sharp teeth.
A fan of leftovers, the lynx may cover the remains of its meal when it is full and return to it later to eat more.
What Makes a Lynx Dangerous?
The lynx are dangerous because they are shadow killers. There are rarely any signs that lynx prey put up a fight. Once they have crept up on their prey, then strike quickly and go for the jugular, typically putting an end to the hunt in decisive fashion.
Their bite featuring sharp teeth is their most dangerous feature, but don’t dismiss their sharp claws either.
Video: Lynx Attacks Dear
How Dangerous Are Lynx To Humans?
The lynx is not an overly large predator, so while they can certainly kill a full-size human, they are at risk of receiving severe injury in the exchange and may not find it easy to accomplish.
That being said, lynx are not considered a serious threat to humans. They tend to keep to themselves and avoid humans whenever possible. Plus, they tend to hunt at night, so there are fewer opportunities for humans and lynx to come into contact with one another.
Do Lynx Attack Humans?
As a general rule, lynx do not attack humans. They have no interest in humans at all, really, and prefer to keep to themselves. In fact, most accounts show that there are actually no reports of a lynx ever attacking a human without being provoked.
That being said, the key word is “provoked”. Remember that the lynx is a deadly predator, and that even if he prefers to simply avoid humans, if cornered or feeling threatened, he will attack.
Furthermore, the lynx is susceptible to rabies, and in that instance is more likely to attack humans.
So should you try to scratch that cute oversized kitty under the chin? Absolutely not.
On a related note, always keep your children away from the lynx. After all, they are closer in size to the cat’s prey and are less able to defend themselves.
Do Lynx Eat Humans?
Lynx prefer small prey, so humans are not on their radar as for one thing, due to their smaller stature, the risk is too great. Even if a human backed a lynx into a corner and a battle ensued resulting in the death of the human, the lynx would be unlikely to eat from the body.
Yet, during times of starvation, meat is meat, so it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility in a dire situation.
How To Protect Yourself When a Lynx Attacks
First of all, some rules to follow to make this event far more unlikely.
Do not try to offer the lynx food
Avoid the lynx and it will avoid you
Do not corner the feline
Stay away from its young
That being said, if for whatever reason you find yourself facing off with a lynx, here is how you should handle the situation.
First of all, do not crouch or hide. Your goal is to be as intimidating as possible, especially because an adult human has a serious size advantage. Yells and howls and other aggressive sounds or actions may discourage the lynx from taking the risk of fighting you.
Always leave the lynx an escape route. If the cat has nowhere to go, it’s coming for you. This is when these large felines are the most dangerous because they are threatened and cornered so they have no alternative but to defend themselves.
Maintain eye contact and do not turn your back on the lynx. These animals are looking for an opportunity for one quick, decisive finale to the encounter. If you provide the cat with an advantage, it will take it because it knows that it is overmatched by a human and a surprise attack is its best chance for victory.
Do not run. A cat’s nature is to pursue and you may trigger its hunter’s instinct. Plus, as you are showing fear, it will have less of that emotion and is more willing to engage because victory seems assured.
Stay together if you are with others. Presenting a unified front against a lynx can be a deterrent for it to assault you. That being said, your ultimate goal is to get the creature to go off and leave you alone; if you approach with a group and the animal is cornered, it will still attack because it will feel that it has no other option.
Have There Been Any Reported Deaths From Lynx Attacks?
There have been attacks by bobcats and other species of lynx, but those circumstances either involved rabies or the animal defending itself when cornered. While those involved sometimes suffered severe injuries, it is difficult to find any report of a human actually dying from a lynx attack.
Remember that children are at greater risk though, so again, keep the kids away from the big kitty.
Can a Lynx Kill a Dog or Other Pets?
They can kill dogs or other pets, but it is usually a rare circumstance when a lynx attacks a domestic pet. It has been reported and as these felines typically hunt smaller game, there is always potential, but it just doesn’t happen very often.
Most circumstances involved dogs being attacked, but usually because the lynx was provoked by the animal and was defending itself.
If you live in a rural area and have chickens, they may be more at risk than your typical dog or cat, nonetheless, don’t let your pets interact with a lynx and keep them away from any situations where they might force a fight.
Do Lynx Carry Diseases?
The lynx is known to carry rabies from time to time and is at risk for mange. There’s also the possibility that they can acquire and transmit many of the same diseases that can affect your domestic house cat, as well.
The lynx is a fascinating and beautiful creature, but is best enjoyed at a safe distance. Always keep your children away from it and make no attempts to offer the animal food or approach it, especially if it is with its young.
A lynx will avoid you if you do not make it feel threatened or cornered, so the risk involved with lynx attacks is minimal, although some rabid felines may be more likely to attack.
If you are attacked, intimidate the creature by standing tall and making loud noises while keeping your eyes on it and always give the animal an escape path.