The Canada Lynx is an animal of the boreal forest and rarely ventures far from the shelter of trees, but sometimes can be found above treeline in the summer before moving back down into the trees for winter.
The lynx needs a large home range to find enough food for itself and can travel large distances in search of prey. Although the lynx will take small animals like squirrels, grouse, lemmings and is able to kill animals as large as deer, its main prey is the snowshoe hare. Studies show that the lynx is so dependent on the snowshoe hare for food that there is a pronounced 10 year boom and bust cycle. An increase in the number of hares is soon followed by an increase in the numbers and size of lynx litters. When the hare population crashes (helped along by the numbers of lynx praying on them) a like crash occurs in the lynx numbers. With fewer lynx around the hare population grows starting the cycle again. This cycle is ancient and both species can cope with it.
Lynx mate in early spring between March and May, and have one litter a year from mid-May to Mid-June. The den is simple, often a hollow log or under brush. The litter of from one to five kittens will stay with the mother until the following spring.
© 2002 University of Alberta Museum of Zoology