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The genus Lynx belongs to the Felidae family and is made up of four species worldwide: L. rufus and L. canadensis, in the American Continent, and L. lynx and L. pardinus, present in the Eurasia region.

The species appeared about one and a half million years ago, as a result of the Iberian Peninsula’s isolation during the glaciations that caused the separation of these populations from their Eurasian counterparts.

© Programa Ex situ
© Programa Ex situ



The coat
The Iberian lynx is a medium-sized carnivore that looks elegant, yet has discreet habits. It is easily identifiable by its yellowish-brown fur dotted with speckles and black spots, which allow it to camouflage within the vegetation of the Mediterranean landscape.

The pattern of its coat varies (in the shape and size of the spots), allowing for an individual differentiation, such as its population of origin. The lynxes of Doñana tend to have large spots with greater contrast, while the lynxes of the Sierra Morena have small spots. On the other hand, the lynxes of Vale do Guadiana reflect, due to the genetic mixture, have various type of coats.


The head
The head also presents very distinctive features of the species. The characteristic ruff of fur around the face, which has grown over the years, and the triangular ears with vertical tufts of black fur at the ends.

The species has striking eyes that allow for accurate distance measurement that is typical in short-range hunters; large eyeballs that allow them to see in low light conditions; hairy, triangular ears, which protect and allow them to detect the discreet walk of their prey.


The limbs
The limbs are relatively long and robust. They also have four retractable claws on each paw which make it possible for them to chase and capture their prey easily.

The longer hind limbs allow them to propel their body several feet high. The shorter and stronger forelegs allow them to grab their prey.


The set of teeth
Their set of teeth is that of a strict carnivore, with canines that make it easier to kill, molars to separate large chunks of flesh and small incisors.

Their most common features are highlighted especially in the adult years. They can measure between 85 to 100 cm in length, 40 to 50 cm in height and weigh between 9 to 15 kg.

© Programa Ex situ
© Programa Ex situ

Life Cycle


December to July

with a peak between December and February


March to April


1 - 3 Years
2 - 3 Years

2 months


2 – 5 kittens


7 – 10 months


19 years

Captive longevity


The estrus of females determines the mating season, between late December and February. It is during this time that the caterwauling is heard.

Then the females seek refuge, which may be a hollow in a tree or a rock. The gestation period lasts between 63 to 74 days. Females may give birth to two or more kittens, which they will take care of for the next eight or nine months until they learn how to hunt and become independent.

In summer and autumn the mother teaches her kitten how to hunt, mark the territory, interact with other lynxes and be aware of danger. From the age of eight months, they begin to move away from the territory where they were born, scattering around until they find their own territory.

As of the age of two, females can begin to reproduce, although this only happens after they have settled in their own territory. The male leaves the female after mating, leaving the mother with the kittens until they become independent.

© Programa Ex situ
© Programa Ex situ