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Page 2 - The Canada Lynx

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/1/1 (1729 reads)
 

writes: "The lynx, in the exuberance of feeling her muscles flow, bounded ahead and leaped onto a large fallen birth log. The log was a mere shell of tough bark...and she stretched her forelegs and dug her great scimitar claws into the log. She ripped the claws toward her, lacerating the bark. She bounded along the trunk, gave a great leap ahead, and then sat down and froze. These leaps...were deeply in? grained as a part of her being. Pleasurable sensations, they were one of the evo? lutionary adaptations of the lynx for hunting snowshoe hares, for the sudden bolt? ing movement sometimes caused a camouflaged hare to bolt. At other times the freeze and virtual disappearance...after the spurt of movement caused a hare's curiosity to overcome its own freezing, reveal itself, and the lynx would pounce." Seton writes that though the lynx is remarkably agile it is slow on level ground. The lynx possesses the uncatlike readiness to take to water. It swims about as fast as a dog, with its head and a little of its shoulders out of the water. But if one a- waits a Lynx at a landing he is making for, he will not turn aside, but land and fight and usually perish. Saunders wrote of the inactivity of the Lynx. It apparently stops while hunting or traveling, the beds sometimes as close as 25-50 feet, and always near the trail. The Lynx is usually alert during these stops but has the ability to take short "cat-naps." The majority of travel apparently occurs at night, usually covering a- bout 5 1/2 miles, depending on the difficulties of the hunt, density of rabbits, and so forth. There have been reports of re-trapping Lynx that had traveled up to hundreds of miles, but except under conditions of starvation this is rare. The Lynx is an inhabitant of deep coniferous forests and soon disappears with the advance of civilization. Nothing but fire, flood or starvation drives this secre? tive animal into the open. There are men who have trapped Lynx all their lives and have never seen a live one out of a trap. Peterson says it likes wooded and swampy areas where the hare (Lepus Americanus) is readily available. Saunders describes it as in among balsam fir, black and white spruce, paper and yellow birch, wet areas and stream banks supporting stands of alder, and barrens where blueberry, lambkill and other lichens are characteristic. The information on the reproductive cycle of the Lynx is far from complete. We do know that the female comes into heat once a year, early in spring. And there is some evidence that the males are not capable of year-long breeding. Peterson writes that mating takes place from January to March and that the young are born in about two months or about May. If we add to this a two-month period of nursing, the breeding season apparently lasts five to six months. There is a lot of overlap in the dates of various sources • but considering the late springs of Cape Breton, we can figure on mid-summer before the young are ready to emerge from the nest. Seton, on the opinion of hunters, reported that the lynx is generally believed to pair. The males do some sort of battle, like the fighting of housecats, the one on the bottom getting the best as he could scratch with four feet. There is a tremen? dous amount of noise (the screams of the lynx are terrifying) but it seems to be more for show because the writer claimed to have never seen a lynx skin with the ears and neck damaged as housecats' often are. The male is thought to assist the female in rearing the young. Though he does not actually accompany the young when they follow the mother, he is always found nearby both in summer and in winter. The

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