Can a lynx kill a healthy adult human?

This is one of those debatable questions because as there are no records of lynx killing humans we have to speculate and theorise, which lends itself to debate and argument.

Eurasian lynx
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Eurasian lynx. Photo unattributed.

The operative word is ‘can’. THEORETICALLY a Eurasian lynx or even the smaller bobcat and Canada or Iberian lynx could kill a healthy adult human if the human was say very elderly (but healthy) and if this elderly person sat in a small cage with a Eurasian lynx and forced the cat to attack and did nothing to defend themselves.

It is all highly artificial because although in terms of strength and weapons (teeth and claws) a lynx could kill a human but it has never happened in the entire history of humankind and will likely never happen because the lynx avoids people. This cat species does not have the mentality to attack an adult human because they consider humans dangerous. If for some weird reason (rabies?) a lynx did attack a healthy adult in the wild under natural circumstances the person could defend him or herself with common sense and some determination and survive with fairly minor injuries in my estimation.

The question in the title is hypothetical and the response is theoretical. The very largest lynx on record, the Eurasian weighed around 40 kg max. (90 pounds). But there are few records of the Eurasian lynx weighing even 30 kilograms.

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Thirty kilograms is 66 pounds. Yes, this would be quite a big, medium-sized wild cat but average humans males weigh around 76 kgs or 167 pounds almost 3 times the weight. It’s not feasible for a lynx to kill an adult healthy male human. Woman weigh around 120 pounds which is twice the weight of a large lynx. Yes, Eurasian lynx can kill at a maximum 200 kilogram ungulates (hoofed animals) but these are deer. They don’t have the intelligence to defend themselves effectively. They are predictable, humans need not be when defending themselves. And as mentioned humans are not lynx prey items, they are not on the menu.

However, the answer to the question in the title is yes and no. Yes, theoretically and no practically and actually.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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