Description of the Eurasian lynx – full and illustrated

This is a full description of the Eurasian lynx supported by excellent photographs. The source of the information is solid and is mainly from the excellent reference book Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist.

Eurasian lynx
Eurasian lynx. Image in public domain.
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The pictures below are of a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx: Lynx lynx carpathica or Lynx lynx lynx. This subspecies is found in: Mongolia, Northern China, Korea, Scandinavia, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and western Serbia, Caucasus and Siberia. (src: Wikipedia). The middle photo is by Joachim S. Müller. The middle picture was taken in Magdeburg’s zoo, Germany.

The Eurasian lynx is also known as the:

  • European lynx
  • Palearctic lynx
  • Northern lynx

In 1842, Edward Blyth made a description of the Eurasian lynx as follows:

“In general, they are light made animals, with contracting flanks, and rather high on the limbs, and the fur of most of them is in winter long and very dense”

Beautiful Eurasian lynx
Beautiful Eurasian lynx. Image in public domain.


It is its dense fur which has caused its demise in the wild as people like it. Its tail is short and having what cat fanciers describe as “ear furnishings”, this cat might be mistaken for an American Bobcat but it is much larger with much bigger paws. The Eurasian lynx paws are very noticeably larger than average. The paws have plenty of fur to protect them from the cold snow and there is webbing in between the toes. Their legs are long but look thick perhaps because of the dense fur and the fact that they are muscular and powerful. In adapting itself for jumping the hind legs are longer than the fore legs.

Eurasian lynx (Balkans)
Eurasian lynx (Balkans) showing lynx tipped ears. Photo in public domain with words added.

The tail has a black tip and is about 1/6th of the head plus body length. The tail has thick fur. The ears are large, wide at the base and have those startling tufts of hair on the tips. These ear furnishings are about 4-7 centimetres in length. In common with other wildcats the backs of the ears have a spot of lighter colour that is designed to be used when the cat is intimated. The ears become half flattened to communicate with the opponent the cat’s aggressive/defensive mood.

A description of the Eurasian lynx wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous ruff, the long hair that hangs from lower cheeks. This is very particular to the lynx. The face has a flat appearance.

The fur is long, silky and dense. The back has the densest fur. Unfortunately, the fur of young lynx is particularly suitable, people think, for the making of garments especially the light-coloured underbelly fur. In summer the Eurasian lynx moults to shorter and sparser fur. The under-parts generally are usually white.

As mentioned in the main article on the Eurasian lynx, there is a wide range of ground colours, patterns and length of fur. The coat is a tabby, ticked coat varying with the seasons:

  • silver-grey (winter)
  • yellowish-grey (winter)
  • grizzled greyish-brown (winter)
  • Ash blue (less common but softer than reddish coats)
  • dark grey (less common but softer than reddish coats)
  • paler, less spotted coats found in the more northern latitudes – Himalayan lynx
  • reddish coat (summer)
  • bright reddish coat with brighter spots (southern Europe and Caucasus)
  • spots can be highly visible or with almost none to be seen, but spots are still found on the underbelly and legs of Eurasian lynx with indistinct spots
  • the spots are scattered over the body with variable contrast, size and shape.
  • stripes are present on the spine or back, forehead, between the ears and on top of the head (tabby markings)
  • black lines may adorn the cheeks
Eurasian lynx
Eurasian lynx. Picture in the public domain.

Recorded weights are as follows:

Adult male Romania48 kilograms – very heavy
Ukraine41 kilograms –very heavy
Sweden adult male average17.9 kilograms
Sweden adult female average16.8 kilograms
Russia adults14 to 24 kilograms
Russia adult males19.6 kilograms
Russia adult females17.3 kilograms

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Description of the Eurasian lynx – Photos are published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License — this site is for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue.

Description of the Eurasian lynx – Source: Wild Cats of the World by Melvin E. Sunquist, Fiona Sunquist.

This page has been checked, updated, added-to and republished as at Jan 23, 2022.

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