Lynxes As Pets – Everything You Need To Know

Lynxes As Pets - Everything You Need To Know

If you love the idea of owning your very own exotic cat, then a lynx is probably your best bet. The reason why is because these big cats are not as dangerous as tigers or cougars.

Can lynxes be tamed?

Although lynxes might not be as fierce as other big cats, they’re still potentially dangerous, just like other wild animals. Lynxes are still wild cats and should be treated as such, even if you keep them as pets.

Lynxes are beautiful animals that need to be treated with care and given what they need to thrive in captivity. It’s a huge responsibility to own a big cat, but it can be done.

If you’d love to turn your dream of owning a lynx into a reality, read on to learn all about big cat ownership. 

Lynx Facts Sheet

Scientific nameLynx
Other namesThere are four lynx species: Eurasian lynx (lynx lynx), Iberian lynx (lynx pardinus), Canadian lynx (lynx canadensis), and bobcat (lynx rufus).
LifespanThey can live for about 12 years in the wild.
DietCarnivore
SizeThey have a body height of 32 to 40 inches, while their tails are between four and eight inches. A lynx can weigh between 22 and 44 pounds.
Where they originate fromThe Eurasian lynx lives in Europe. The Canadian lynx is in Canada. The Iberian lynx lives in Spain. The bobcat is found in North America.
Legal/illegal statesWild cats are banned in various U.S. states, while others don’t have rules regarding the possession of wild cats. This makes it possible to own them by default.
Price rangeYou will have to pay a minimum of $1,000 and possibly much more for a pet lynx.

Fascinating Facts About Lynxes

Eurasian Lynx with kitten

There’s no doubt that lynxes are striking animals.

A lynx is usually medium-brown to beige in color, and tends to have dark brown spots and white fur on their bellies.

But they’re so much more than just attractive!

Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts about these big cats.

They Have Incredible Senses

Lynx cats are very tuned into their environment thanks to their strong senses, which make them brilliant hunters. A lynx’s ears have tufts on them that work as hearing aids.

In addition, their eyesight is so powerful that they can see a mouse that’s up to 250 feet away from them, as National Geographic reports.

They Are Built For Cold Temperatures

Lynxes live in the cooler climates of North America, northern Europe, as well as Asia.

They are built to ward off the cold: they have lovely thick fur and paws that spread out when they make contact with the ground, thus enabling the lynx to walk on snow, as Live Science reports.

Some lynxes even hunt in the thick snow – you’ve probably seen them leaping into the snow to catch prey such as mice.

They Purr Like House Cats

house cat and lynx

Lynx cats might be much bigger than house cats, but they purr just like them! In fact, a mother lynx will purr when taking care of her kittens.

Interestingly, while many of the bigger wild cats will roar, lynxes don’t.

They Are Smart Hunters

You won’t often see a lynx chasing after its prey in the same way as cheetahs or lions do.

Instead, the lynx is skilled at sneaking up on its prey. It will hide behind objects, such as rocks, and wait for the right moment to do so. When it sneaks up on its prey, it then pounces on the victim from behind.

Since they hunt at night, the lynx is rarely seen by people and can take its prey by surprise!

The Iberian Lynx Is Endangered

iberian lynx with cubs

The Iberian lynx is the most endangered cat, as National Geographic reports.

There are only around 250 of them left, and they survive in two isolated breeding populations located in Southern Spain, according to Business Insider.

Other lynx species are considered to have stable populations.

The Lynx Is A Solitary Animal

In the wild, lynxes like to be alone for large chunks of time. They even rest alone.

Sometimes, though, they will form part of a group of lynxes that hunt and travel together, but that doesn’t always happen that often.

In the wild, they are often seen as mysterious and secretive because of how they like to spend time in their hiding places.

How To Care For Your Lynx

resting lynx

Although it might sound like a crazy idea to own a lynx, these animals are quite temperate.

They should obviously be kept in outdoor enclosures, but it’s important to give them a bit of shelter so that they have protection against the harsh elements.

A word of warning: One of the dangers associated with keeping big cats on your property is that they can wreak havoc if they get out of their enclosures.

It’s therefore of the utmost importance to ensure that your lynx won’t be able to damage property or hurt anyone. You can do this by building a strong enclosure that has a roof on it to prevent the lynx from climbing out of it.

Here are some other important tips for building a lynx enclosure:

  • You should make a lynx enclosure with wire mesh and wooden posts.
    However, when using wire mesh, make sure that it is both strong enough to withstand the weight of the lynx and that the animal’s paws can’t get stuck in it. So, the wire mesh should be small to prevent this from happening.
  • To make the fence of your enclosure even stronger, always set it into concrete to prevent the cat from being able to get out of it.
  • Make sure the lynx enclosure is big enough for the animal to be comfortable. You should aim for an enclosure that’s about four meters long, two meters wide, and about three meters high for one lynx cat. However, if you’ve got a larger lynx cat, such as the Eurasian lynx, you will need to expand it a bit.
  • Ensure that the enclosure has a den where there are no draughts. This is a perfect hiding and resting place for the lynx.
  • Put bedding in the enclosure so that the lynx has a comfortable spot on which to rest and sleep. You should regularly clean out the bedding so that it’s hygienic.
  • Lynxes do like to climb, so you should ensure that they have enough places to climb in their enclosure, such as with the use of high perches.
  • Create enrichment in the enclosure. If your lynx gets into the habit of pacing around his or her enclosure, then that could be a sign that they are not getting enough stimulation. To prevent that from happening, keep things interesting, such as by putting edible plants in the enclosure, adding perches for climbing purposes, and even hiding food in the enclosure for them to find as this will keep them stimulated.

Diet

lynx eating their prey

Different types of lynxes will need to eat different things in order to stay healthy. No matter what kind of lynx you’re interested in owning, it’s important to ensure that an adult lynx gets two to three pounds of food every day.

Here are some of the foods that different lynx species like to eat in the wild.

  • Canadian Lynx – This cat eats birds, squirrels, and mice, but their favorite food is the snowshoe hare.
  • Eurasian Lynx – These animals are bigger than Canadian and other types of lynxes and will hunt large prey, such as deer, but are also known to hunt smaller prey, as National Geographic reports.
  • Bobcat – This type of lynx likes to eat small mammals such as skunks, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels. In fact, its most common prey is the cotton-tail rabbit, as Nature Works reports.
  • Iberian Lynx – This type of lynx likes to eat wild rabbits, but if it can’t find enough of those it will eat young deer, patridges, and ducks.

Other Diet Tips

Feeding a wild cat requires you to buy special food for it, such as Zupreem Feline Diet. These types of food products have been specially formulated for non-domestic carnivores.

They’re basically food that has all the vitamins and minerals large cats need to be healthy, and you’ll probably need to give your large cat a can or two of it per day, depending on how much your cat weighs.

During the summer time, you can also freeze meat in a block of ice and feed that to your lynx as a refreshing treat.

It’s like a popsicle! This is something zookeepers give to lynxes and other big cats that are in captivity.

Climate Considerations

bobcat jumps over water

If you’re interested in owning a lynx, it’s important to know a bit more about the different lynx species and what climates they live in.

If you live in a very hot climate or cold climate, you need to consider the type of lynx that will be best for you so that it’s comfortable and happy.

This will also make your job easier because you won’t have to worry too much about maintaining certain temperatures for your lynx in its enclosure.

Here are some climate considerations for different types of lynxes.

  • Eurasian Lynx: These types of lynxes do tolerate warmer weather better than other lynxes, so that’s something to bear in mind if you live in a warmer region as they’re a good choice for adoption. 
  • Bobcat: Bobcats aren’t as well equipped to live in very cold areas – you can see this by their smaller feet that don’t have furry soles on them. They can survive well in other types of habitats, however, such as swamps and even deserts. The important thing is to ensure they have places to hide, as that’s important to them.
  • Canadian Lynx: These lynxes are especially adapted to very cold weather, thanks to their thick coat and padded paws. If you live in a very cold region, owning a Canadian lynx shouldn’t be a problem for you.  
  • Iberian Lynx: Found in Mediterranian woodland, the Iberian lynx is quite adaptable to different temperatures. In Mediterranian forests, woodlands, and scrub, the summers are dry and winters are rainy.

Reproduction

three canadian lynx cubs

Male lynxes mate from around the age of three years but females are ready to mate from when they’re one year old.

The females can mate with more than one partner during the mating season. Lynx breed during the early spring and late winter.

Their litters can contain between one and six young. The female lynx has a gestation period of about eight weeks, during which time she creates a den for her young so that when they are born they will be protected from predators and the elements.

When they are born, the young lynxes stay with their mother for about nine months. After that time, they have to start fending for themselves in the wild.

Interestingly, mothers will sometimes leave their young to force them out into the wild on their own!

Diseases

A disease called mange is the most common one that affects lynxes. This is a skin disease that’s caused by parasites.

Lynxes can also be affected by ticks and fleas, just like domesticated animals. In addition to the above, intestinal worms have also been noticed in lynxes that roam in the wild.

When it comes to the Canadian lynx specifically, recent research has shown that a parasite that’s transmitted by ticks has been shown to infect this lynx species.

Interestingly, this parasite infects domestic dogs and is similar to the Epstein-Barr virus which causes mononucleosis in humans, as Morning Ag Clips reports.

Mononucleosis is a viral illness that causes symptoms such as a fever, skin rashes, headaches, and a sore throat.

Is It Legal To Own A Lynx?

three eurasian lynx

When it comes to owning large cats such as lynxes, some states in the U.S. don’t have any laws regarding their possession.

This means that you can own such animals by default.

These states are Nevada, North Carolina, Alabama, and Wisconsin. In addition, there are some states that don’t ban or regulate big-cat possession. These are the states mentioned above, as well as Delaware and Oklahoma.

That said, you might live in a state that completely bans the possession of large cats. Examples of these states include Illinois and Hawaii, as Big Cat Rescue reports, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on what your state’s laws are.

While other states might not ban the possession of wild cats, they  might require you to own a permit before you can own a lynx, so that’s also something to check before going ahead with your idea to purchase a lynx.

Where To Buy Lynxes

Does your state allow you to own a wild cat, such as a lynx, whether with or without a permit?

Then you’ll want to know where you can purchase this exotic pet!

While some breeders only deal with, and sell to, other wildlife facilities instead of members of the public, you can check out some sites that sell lynxes.

One of the best options is to consult with conservation facilities that list lynxes for sale.

Books About Lynxes

If you want to own a lynx, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about this interesting animal. Here are some books about lynxes that are worth purchasing.

Lynx (Wild Cats) by Arnold Ringstad

This book features interesting information about lynxes and their habitats, as well as their special traits. It also has some lovely pictures of lynxes included in the book. 

Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist) by James G. Sanderson and Patrick Watson

Not just about lynxes, this book features lots of interesting facts about smaller-sized wild cats. What’s so great about this book is that it features lesser-known and surprising facts about cats.

LYNX: Back to the Wild by Martin Spice

We’ve all heard stories about big cats that were rescued by humans and the amazing adventures that followed.

This book is one of them, and it’s based on a true story that will leave you inspired and eager to have your own lynx.

Lynx-Related Products To Buy

eurasian lynx in nature

It’s not just books about lynxes that you’ll love to own.

There are tons of lynx-related products you should, and can, buy online. Here’s a roundup of some of the best ones.

Lynx Mugs

A quick search online will show you that the beautiful lynx animal appears on lots of trendy coffee and tea mugs.

One of the best picks is this lynx mug from Amazon, which features the words, ‘Always be yourself except if you can be a lynx, then always be a lynx.’

Another ceramic lynx mug you can buy from the site has a picture of a cute lynx on it, displaying its trademark facial tufts. 

Lynx Clothing

An image of a lynx on your clothing can make you feel more empowered because these big cats are so powerful and regal.

Choose a geometric lynx sweatshirt that adds a burst of color to your wardrobe. Or, just showcase your love for lynxes with an “I love lynxes” t-shirt.

Lynx Soft Toys

Lynx Plush Stuffed Animal

What can be cuter than a lynx soft toy?

Amazon has a range of cuddly lynx toys that make great gifts for loved ones.

One to check out is the Wildlife Artists Lynx Toy that features lynxes with realistic elements, such as the long hairs on the lynx’s ears.

Lynx Emojis, Gifs, And Icons

Since so many people love big cats, you can find lots of emojis and gifs of lynxes as compared to other exotic pets.

However, it’s sad to see that WhatsApp still doesn’t have a lynx emoji – you can only get ones of tigers and cheetahs. But no worries – here are other lynx-related images you can find online. 

  • Symbols and emoticons has a cute, friendly lynx image you’ll love to send to all your friends.
  • Png Find has a leaping bobcat image that can be downloaded. 
  • Giphy has a range of different lynx-related gifs. There are bobcat gifs as well as general lynx gifs that show how cute and majestic the animals are, whether when kept by owners or left in the wild. 

Related Questions

Are lynxes nocturnal?

Lynxes tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, but they mainly hunt at night.

During the day, they like to sleep in hiding places, such as caves or rock crevices.

Can lynxes bond with humans?

man with lynx in nature

Although wild animals aren’t domesticated, they do imprint on humans.

Imprinting refers to how a young exotic animal will develop a strong bond with the first person he or she sees as a guiding figure. It’s therefore probably best to purchase a lynx that’s still very young.

Conclusion

Owning a pet lynx can seem overwhelming and perhaps even impossible at first.

However, it certainly doesn’t have to be.

Hopefully by now you have a better understanding about what it takes to own a lynx cat as well as more information about this special wild animal and what it requires to thrive, whether in the wild or captivity.

From issues concerning the lynx’s diet and habitat, to whether or not your state allows the possession of lynx cats, we’ve outlined all the important facts and information you need about lynxes so you can decide if owning a lynx is the right thing for you.

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