For big cat enthusiasts, a lynx is an appealing option, as it is a smaller member of the large wild cats, weighing up to 60lbs depending on the species. While the Eurasian, North American, Canadian, and Iberian Lynx do not share the bad reputation of pet tigers, owners should be aware of their challenging behavior, as adult lynx can be both aggressive and messy.
Although owning a pet lynx is a possibility, it is not legal everywhere and varies by location.
What is a Lynx?
Lynx, compared to other big cat species like lions and tigers, are relatively small. However, there are four different lynx species, including bobcats, Eurasian, Canadian, and Iberian lynx.
How Big Does a Lynx Get?
A lynx’s size and weight depend on gender and species; males tend to be larger than females. The Eurasian lynx can weigh up to 60 pounds, reach up to 2.5 feet tall, and measure more than four feet long from nose to tail. Meanwhile, the Iberian lynx is relatively smaller, weighing around 30 pounds, two feet tall, and a little over three feet long. The Canada lynx weighs up to 24 pounds, stands just under two feet tall, and can measure three and a half feet long. The North American bobcat lynx weighs up to 30 pounds, stands around two feet tall, and may measure up to three feet and four inches in adulthood.
Lynx Personality and Temperament
Lynx kittens will stay with their mother for about ten months before setting out to live a solitary adult life. These nocturnal hunters typically avoid humans and are territorial when challenged. Most pet lynx acquire the imprint of a human caregiver as kittens, but caring for a fully grown adult is different due to their unique housing, dietary, and socialization needs. Experts recommend allowing lynx to live in the wild. Exceptions are made for un-releasable lynx, which may serve as ambassadors in adulthood.
What Does a Pet Lynx Eat?
Lynx’s digestive systems are evolved to consume pure animal protein, making them obligate carnivores. Canadian lynx exclusively eats snowshoe hares, while the Iberian lynx prefers wild rabbits, although they also hunt ducks, small deer, and birds. The Eurasian lynx, capable of hunting large prey, eats several species of deer, whereas the North American bobcat is an opportunistic predator, hunting various animals like rodents, wild birds, domestic fowl, and even housecats.
How Long Do Pet Lynx Live?
A pet lynx with an appropriate diet, enough space to roam, and excellent veterinary care, can live 20 or more years in captivity.
Pet Lynx Eyes and Eyesight
The lynx hunting at night, have specialized structures in their eyes that allow for optimal sight in low light conditions. Their eyes are filled with cellular crystals called the tapetum lucidum that reflect incoming light back to the retina, thus permitting the retina to see images in twice as much light. There are more light-sensing rods in lynx eyes. Hence why their eyes also glow at night. These great cats, however, do have additional remarkable adaptations.
Are Pet Lynx Active?
All four lynx species are active, with low legs providing stability in deep snow or wet conditions, and hair on the paw pads for extra stability in wet conditions and swimming. Lynx tufted ears are believed to serve as either another type of whisker or to improve hearing over long distances.
Is Keeping a Pet Lynx Legal?
Keeping a wild lynx in captivity is not legal in all areas and may require permits in certain areas or temporary captivity for rehabilitation and release purposes.
Alternatives To A Pet Lynx
Adopting wild-look domestic breeds like the Highland Lynx, Pixie-bob, Desert Lynx, and Maine Coon, which all come with lynx-like adaptations and characteristics.