The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is the northern cousin of Pennsylvania’s own bobcat, and at first glance, many people mistakenly confuse the two. The Lynx, found almost entirely north of the US/Canada border, is the slightly larger of the two species, weighing in at 30 pounds or so. Lynx also have longer legs and stand taller than their southern cousins. The long legs and large paws of the Canada lynx are both ideal adaptations for hunting their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare, in the deep snows of the north. They also have a very soft, heavy fur coat to help them through the long winters.
Here at the Philadelphia Zoo, we have Freya and Odr (pronounced “O-ther”), names derived from Norse mythology. Odr is slightly taller and slimmer, looking like the lanky teenager that he is (in cat years, that is—he is 2 years old). Odr is the new kid on the block, as he arrived at the Zoo this past spring in the hopes of starting a family. He’s adjusted well to his new habitat and spends a lot of time either in the back of the exhibit or up high, as he enjoys climbing the trees. Freya is a long-time resident in Philly, and she is very familiar with her surroundings and comfortable with all areas of her exhibit, though she enjoys lying in her straw bed on the shelf in the back of her habitat. She rules the roost, and Odr frequently will give her space and walk around her in the exhibit.
Come and visit them the next time you come to the Zoo! They can be found in Carnivore Kingdom, between the Giant River Otters (a crowd favorite), and our family of black-footed cats (the kittens were a big hit this summer…but more on them later!).
By Ken Pelletier, Cheetah Run Lead Keeper