Signs of a lynx

The digital pads on the lynx's paw look small and round, sometimes they even resemble thin fingertips. The lynx has very mobile toes.

Lynx tracks


The lynx leaves tracks that are typical of felines. The lynx has four toes that are visible in its tracks. The digital pads on the lynx's paw look small and round, sometimes they even resemble thin fingertips. When it moves the lynx keeps its sharp claws inside the paws, except in certain special cases.

In snow the lynx's paw print looks slightly vague because of the thick fur on the pads. This is also why the print seems so large: it is 7–12 cm long when measured by its outer edges, but when measured by the digital pads the print shrinks to 7–9 cm.

In typical feline fashion, the lynx has very mobile toes. If the lynx extends its toes it will create a larger paw print. This is why determining the animal's size based on its tracks alone can be misleading.

On hard snow surfaces the lynx will spread its toes wide and use its claws for extra support. This is one case where you can see the impressions made by claws in the lynx's tracks. On hard snow the paw print will also clearly show the asymmetry of the digital pads.

The lynx's most common mode of locomotion is walking, although it likes to trot too. A trotting lynx often drags its legs. A trotting wolf will leave two parallel track grooves in the snow and the lynx will place its forepaw and hindpaw in the same hole. On a solid surface the pads of the lynx's paw are distinctly separable in the paw print. The length of a lynx's walking step is 80–110 cm, which is clearly shorter than the step of a wolf. The length of a trotting lynx's step is typically 130–150 cm, but it can also be a bit longer than that.

In soft snow the lynx will place its forepaw and hindpaw in the same track. In these situations one might mistake the lynx's tracks for those of a wolf, especially if new snow has fallen on them. Measuring the steps and tracking the animal for a longer stretch might yield more information as to its species. In soft snow you might not always see the impressions left by the pads of the animal's paw, which is why you should follow the track long enough to find a clear paw print.

When on the move, the lynx moves in a straightforward manner but is not as determined as the wolf. Unless it is clearly moving from one place to the other, its tracks might sway a little from its course. A lynx will rarely sniff trees or bushes: if the tracks would indicate such behaviour, they probably belong to a dog. The lynx has a large territory and it usually uses the same routes. When moving in the snow, the lynx will often make use of paths made by hares and other animals.


Other signs of a lynx

The lynx kills its large prey, such as white-tailed deer or reindeer, by biting them in the throat. The lynx does very little mauling and an animal killed by a lynx will have sharp teeth marks and coagulated blood on its throat. The lynx doesn't really feed on carcasses. When moving without cubs, the lynx will usually only eat a portion of the large prey animal's hind section.

Droppings

Like cats, the lynx covers up its urine and faeces with dirt or snow. Fresh lynx droppings are black and have a bad smell to them.

Prey animals

The lynx kills its large prey animals, such as reindeer, by biting them in the throat. The throat of an animal killed by a lynx remains largely intact and one can find coagulated blood around the needle sharp teeth marks.