Do wolves kill lynx?

Do wolves kill lynx? Yes. An alternative question would be ‘Can a lynx kill a wolf’ or ‘Where the lynx and wolf are sympatric (share the same landscape) which animal pushes the other out and dominates?’ In this instance we are referring to the Eurasian lynx, the largest of four lynx species: Canada lynx, Iberian lynx and bobcat. That makes a difference.

Wolf encounters Eurasian  lynx in Belarus
Wolf encounters Eurasian lynx in Belarus. The lynx arches its back in classic feline posture ready for a potential fight. Photo: Believed to be Vadim Sidorovich.
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A search on the internet to these questions always results in the picture on this page (which I have digitally improved using Photoshop Elements and Lightroom) and a description which says that the lynx won the battle with this single wolf. The encounter took place in Belarus. The author claims that the wolf was injured and disappeared.

That was a single encounter. It may not reflect what generally happens. The author also says that lynx attack wolf cubs and pregnant females. If that is true it indicates that the lynx is scared of adult male wolves.

My research is pretty enlightening. Here are some examples. When wolves invaded eastern Slovakia during World War 2, Eurasian lynx moved out. In Russia, lynx are rarely seen when wolves are present and numerous.

In a forest reserve in central Russia two wolves caught and killed a lynx before it could escape up a tree. In another reserve the stomach contents of two wolves (presumed shot, sadly) contained the remains of lynx.

Studies show that where there is a decline in wolf numbers, lynx numbers increase. A clear is the fact that the lynx is solitary while the wolf lives in packs. Common sense dictates that the cat avoids the dog.

If you want full references for these studies please ask in a comment and I’ll provide them. They are taken from Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists.

Conclusion: My conclusion from this information is that the Eurasian lynx is close match to the wolf in terms size and fighting ability in a one-to-one encounter but in general the wolf frightens the lynx into steering clear perhaps mainly or partly because of the wolf pack. In general (there’ll be exceptions), lynx do not want to fight wolves, which means they don’t think they’ll win. Do wolves kill lynx? Yes. Can a lynx kill a wolf? Yes, but less often than the other way around and the wolf might be a cub not a mature adult male.


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