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Signs in the field

Tracks

As in other cat species with the exception of cheetahs, lynx have retractable claws. Thus, in general the claws are not visible in the track. However, if they are visible, e.g. in very steep terrain or on frozen snow, then the claws are very fine and sharp.

The pugmark of an adult lynx is round with a diameter of 7-9 cm. The individual pads are asymmetrically distributed. The front paw is considerably larger than the hind paw.

Single footprints can be confused with dog tracks where the claws are not visible. Therefore, it is important to always consider the entire track. Lynx tracks generally follow a straight line in a forward pattern whereas dog tracks tend to meander right and left in a coursing pattern. Lynx are very agile and often walk over walls, fallen trees or rocky outcrops, performing large and wide jumps.

Lynx track drawing

Scat

Lynx scats consist of several cylindrical segments. These are as thick as a fir cone, each measuring 2-3 cm in diameter and 3-5cm in length. There are often hairs or bone fragments from prey species visible in the scat. If the lynx has eaten purely meat, scats can be shapeless, almost liquid.

Eurasian lynx tend to cover their faeces with snow, leaves or dirt.

Kills

The lynx is an ambush hunter. It sneaks up as close as possible to its prey, reaching it within just a few leaps and no extensive chase, then killing it with a bite to the throat. Lynx kills have very typical characteristics and are thus well recognisable as such.

Lynx prefer wild ungulates, which can be completely consumed over several nights, leaving only the skeleton, the skin and the rumen.

Kills:

Prey are often covered between feeding events. Some body parts (head, extremities) are not removed. The skeleton usually remains intact. Larger prey species are dragged over short distances, at most some dozen meters to a secure place.

Injuries:

Throat bite with few bloody perforations, some tissue injuries in the throat region (often only visible after removal of the skin). The larynx is perforated. No injuries on the rest of the body, aside from slight claw injuries piercing through the skin occasionally (rather rare).

Feeding process:

Lynx begin feeding from back to front. The digestive tract is never eaten. The skin is often turned inside out. The bones are cleaned and the ribs are often eaten.

An adult roe deer can be consumed in 4-5 nights. Livestock is often not as completely used as wild animals, probably due to more frequent disturbance. Lynx kills are usually eaten by foxes once the lynx leaves.

Vocalisation

Lynx can call, purr, growl and hiss. Lynx call most frequently during the breeding season. Intraspecific contact is established with a short call which can be heard over several kilometres in the mountains on a still winter night. Most of the time there are several calls, often repeated sequences of three to four calls. Mother and young call often, and during all seasons.

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