Lynx Lynx lynx

Once resident in Scotland, the lynx is thought to have become extinct in the UK during the medieval period around 1,300 years ago.

Medium-sized cats, they are the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf. They have short bodies, long legs and large feet, as well as sharp, hooked claws, distinctive triangular ears with black tufts at the tip, and a short black-tipped tail. They are spotted cats, with long light-coloured fur which gets shorter and thinner in the summer.

The Trust believes that there is both a moral and ecological case for reintroducing lynx to Scotland – find out more here.


A solitary and elusive cat that hunts at night and stealthily avoids humans, so is rarely seen. Lynx will normally feed on deer, mountain hares and other small mammals.


Length: 3 foot (1m)

Weight: 18-27kg, males larger than females.

Average lifespan: 10-15 years.


Extinct in the UK.


Lynx can be found in the temperate and boreal forests of Central, Northern and Eastern Europe, to Siberia and Central Asia.

When to see

All year round where present.


Lynx have very good eyesight and can spot a mouse up to 250 feet (75 metres) away. They also have an excellent sense of hearing.

Some scientists believe that their ear tufts act like whiskers and that they use these to detect movements close by.

Common name


Species name

Lynx lynx

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

All year round where present.

Where to see in Scotland

Captive lynx can be seen at the Highland Wildlife Park.

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