Will a Lynx Attack a Dog? How to Keep Your Pet Safe
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Living in an area with large wild predators can be stressful for pet owners, especially those with small dogs or cats. But will a Lynx attack a dog? Let’s find out!
Wildcats such as a Lynx can pose a common threat to household animals in Europe, Canada, and much of the Northern US.
Lynx typically go after smaller prey such as rabbits, squirrels, or birds but can be known to attack dogs if hungry enough or if provoked. While it doesn’t happen too often, there is always a risk.
This article will answer the question, ‘will a lynx attack a dog?’ We’ve researched everything you need to know about lynx hunting habits to determine whether pet dogs and cats are at risk.
What is a Lynx?
The Lynx is a broad term for four species of wildcats in many parts of the world. The four species are Canada Lynx, Siberian Lynx, Bobcat, and Iberian Lynx. Many of these species are considered endangered or at risk due to competition with other species and hunting in certain areas.
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The Canada Lynx, as the name may suggest, is typically found in Canada but reaches the Northern US, including Alaska. They have long, thick coats ideal for hunting in winter when they primarily go after snowshoe hares. The populations generally rise and fall with the snowshoe hare population, and many Lynx starve when the hare population is low.
The Siberian Lynx is widely located across Northern Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia. They are considered endangered due to poaching and habitat loss. The Siberian Lynx has a short spotted coat and is the largest Lynx species, weighing up to seventy-two pounds. They feed on smaller mammals but can take down larger prey such as deer.
Bobcats, the common name for Lynx found in the US and Mexico, is considered the most successful Lynx, having the most stable populations. Bobcats are the smallest of the wildcats, averaging twenty to thirty pounds fully grown. They have light, spotted coats best suited for hunting in the desert, where they feed on rabbits and hares, occasionally taking down deer. Due to their size, they do not fare well in heavily snowy areas.
The Iberian Lynx originated in the Iberian Peninsula but has since spread across the Mediterranean and Southern Spain. The Iberian Lynx was nearly extinct in 2002 when the population dropped to just ninety-four but has risen significantly over the last two decades. The European Rabbit is its most common meal, and the red-legged partridge.
Will a Lynx Attack a Dog?
Lynx attacks are not very common, but they do happen, most often when the hare population is down. Lynx are known to venture outside their regular feeding ground if they get hungry enough, which sometimes means coming closer to human territory. While they usually avoid humans and can be scared of bigger dogs, small dogs and cats may be at risk of a Lynx attack.
As any wild animal would, Lynx will also attack if they feel threatened or cornered. They will often use their large teeth and claws to defend themselves if necessary. However, more often than not, they will try to run and escape. Usually, this means climbing the nearest tree to escape. Bobcats are more likely to flee from dogs due to their small size.
There are a couple of instances in which a Lynx may attack a dog with the intent to kill, but these are rare. The first is that it may be rabid, in which case even a tiny bite on your dog could prove fatal. A rabid Lynx will be much more aggressive and may behave strangely. Secondly, a Lynx with kittens will be very aggressive if she thinks they are in danger.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe
If you live in an area where Lynx are common, try to keep your dog inside around dusk and dawn. These are the times Lynx are most active and hunting and usually hungry. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a fenced-in yard means your dog is safe. Wild cats can jump up to 25 feet, so a fence is no deterrent if they see food on the other side.
When walking your dog, ensure they are on a leash and will not be tempted to run off or chase a wildcat. Keeping them nearby and well-supervised is the best way to protect your dog from a Lynx attack.
Will a Lynx Attack a Cat?
Reports of Lynx attacking cats are sporadic. Cats are much less likely to pose a threat to a Linx and generally mind their own business. However, pet cats may be at risk if a very hungry Lynx is looking for dinner.
Unfortunately, many cats go missing in Lynx territory, so it’s hard to say whether or not it is related. If a Lynx did manage to kill a cat, they would likely carry it off to be eaten elsewhere. The best way to protect your cat from a Lynx attack is to keep them indoors.
Are Lynx Dangerous to Humans?
Lynx are usually scared of humans and are not generally a threat to adults unless provoked. However, there have been instances of Lynx, particularly bobcats, attacking small children. It is not considered typical behavior, as the Lynx is generally elusive and will avoid humans whenever possible.
Keeping children inside between dusk and dawn and teaching them safety precautions is a great way to keep them safe from Lynx and other wild animals. Here are some great tips to follow:
- Never carry food on you at night
- Never approach a Lynx
- Never run away from a Lynx
- Never offer food to a Lynx
- Never turn your back to a Lynx
- Never corner a Lynx
Will a Lynx Attack a Dog?: Final Thoughts
The four species of Lynx may have some differences, but they are all capable of gravely injuring or even killing household pets and even humans. While these instances are rare, it’s essential never to forget that they are a possibility.
By taking the proper precautions, we can help protect these beautiful animals as well as keep household dogs and cats safe. By ensuring that Lynx are not given the opportunity to threaten us, we can help keep populations up instead of setting them up for failure or having to be put down.
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