Do Canada lynx attack humans?

Canada lynx do not attack humans unless there are exceptional circumstances such as rabies or perhaps a pet Canada lynx being provoked into defensively attacking their owner or a stranger in the home. This would be a rare incident. It seems to me that is more likely for a domesticated Canada lynx to attack and harm a person than it is for a wild Canada lynx to do the same thing. This is because wild Canada lynx just don’t want to get close to a person.

The Siberian lynx is larger than the Canada lynx. There is a story online in The Guardian newspaper dated 2014 of a Siberian lynx, kept as a pet, attacking a neighbour in Atlanta, USA. This species of lynx can weigh up to 90 pounds. The owners of the Siberian lynx were out at the time. Somehow the animal got out of the home or a cage and attacked her. She was not seriously injured. In this incident we have a large and a semi-domesticated animal; a combination which may lead to this kind of unfortunate incident.

Canada lynx
Canada lynx. Photo: Pixabay.
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Except for a lynx suffering from rabies, I can’t think of an occasion or a reason why a Canada lynx should attack a person unless cornered and forced to defend themselves. Some quick research before I wrote this post indicated to me that Canada lynx have no interest in attacking people. Perhaps a person who farms Canada lynx i.e. treats them as livestock for their pelts, might on occasions be attacked by a defensive lynx. I don’t know of any stories describing that sort of event but it might well have happened on occasions.

It is more likely that they will attack chickens on a farm and more likely that the farmer’s wife will shoo the lynx away. There is a story of a woman wrestling with a lynx to protect her dog. She won the fight.

The best book on the wild cat species has absolutely nothing in it about Canada lynx attacking people. If it had happened or if it was likely to happen the authors would have referred to it.

This is because I would expect the Canada lynx to be inherently frightened of humans because of the consistent persecution of the species by people for the coats on their back. In 2002, Mel and Fiona Sunquist reported in their book While Cats of the World that in Canada, the lynx had been extirpated from Prince Edward Island and mainland Nova Scotia. At that time, it was considered to be endangered in New Brunswick. There have been efforts to re-establish Canada lynx in upstate New York which proved “not very successful”. Clearly once again this is a reflection on the persecution of the lynx by people over many years. The aggressor is the human against the lynx and not vice versa.

The lynx will avoid people, which is in part because of this long history of persecution. Lynx are mainly terrestrial and nocturnal mainly because the principal prey is the snowshoe hare and that animal is basically nocturnal. And being nocturnal they are more able to avoid people. Although it is trapped and managed across much of Canada and the ‘harvest’ regulated. Being nocturnal does not prevent being trapped.

I don’t think that there is anything else to say on this topic. The bottom line is that humans are too dangerous and too big despite the fact that the lynx is a capable medium-sized wild cat weighing approximately 8 to 11 kg normally.

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