Meet the Bobcat & Canada Lynx at Wildwood Zoo
We currently have one bobcat and one lynx here at Wildwood Zoo.
Lexi is a female lynx who arrived in March of 2010. Lexi's name was chosen for her by school children attending a spring education program that April. Lexi likes to chase around toys and smell perfume. The best time to see Lexi playing with toys is during the summer ed-zoo-cational talks during her enrichment. However, she is given toys frequently as part of her daily enrichment and you never know when or what she may be playing with next. Lynx, bobcats, and even domestic cats will also spray all over an area to mark it as their territory.
Did you know Lexi's enclosure offers unique viewing with windows displaying the inside parts of her enclosure? This allows visitors to see what Lexi is up to and what behind-the-scene areas look like at a zoo. Lexi likes to nap when she is inside so we do ask that you do not hit the windows and disturb her.
We also ask that you do not hit the Plexiglas front of her cage. Lexi does get irritated and will occasionally swat back at visitors. She also enjoys lying right in front of the Plexiglas and we want to keep this a comfortable spot for her.
Canada Lynx are short-tailed, long-legged wildcats. They weigh 15-35 pounds and stand about 2 feet tall (about the same height as a Golden Retriever). Lynx are federally threatened animals. Several lynx sightings have been reported in northern Wisconsin . Biologists are uncertain as to whether or not lynx are breeding in Wisconsin . The main source of prey for lynx is snowshoe hare. On average, a lynx kills one snowshoe hare every other night (which means they eat 150-200 snowshoe hares per year)! Lynx have great eyesight and can see a mouse from 250 feet away!
If snowshoe hare are hard to find, lynx will also eat rodents, birds, fish, and weak or sick deer. Here at the zoo the lynx are fed chicken, venison, and carnivore loaf (looks like ground up hamburger).
Lynx are usually solitary animals except for mating season in February and March. Pregnancy lasts 8 to 10 weeks. Two or three kitten are a typical litter. A newborn kitten is born helpless but with lots of fur to keep it warm. They weigh only 200 grams at birth - about the size of a bar of soap! The mother will nurse her young for about 5 months. They may begin to eat some meat at one month old.
The mother will teach them to hunt and they will stay with her for 11 months. After leaving their mother the siblings will sometimes stay together for a while. Females can reach sexual maturity at 21 moths and males at 33 months. A female will only have one litter a year.
In the wild the average lifespan of a lynx is 10 to 15 years. In captivity they can live up to 26 years.
Bets is a 9-year-old male bobcat that was transferred to Wildwood Zoo from Ochsner Park Zoo in Baraboo, WI on October 27, 2016. He has joined “Lexi”, the Zoo’s 11-year-old lynx. Bets is a confident, outgoing cat; although he just arrived at the Zoo last week, he is already eager to explore his new exhibit and interact with guests. The addition of a bobcat to the exhibit is a great opportunity for our patrons to see a side by side comparison of these two closely related species. With his addition, the former Lynx Exhibit will now be known as the Wildcat Exhibit.
Bobcats, sometimes referred to as Wildcats, are medium-sized cats that are typically about twice the size of a house cat. They are the most abundant wild cat species in North America and have the largest geographic distribution. Though bobcats are relatively common predators (estimated population in the United States is about 2.3 to 3.6 million animals and about 2,850 in Wisconsin) they are rarely seen. Bobcats are most active at night and are extremely elusive. They are very adaptable to a wide range of environments ranging from dense woodlands and swamps to desert. A Bobcat’s usual home range is about 3-5 square miles, though suburban cats might inhabit an area about 20% that size. Their preferred foods are small mammals and birds; however, they will prey upon animals much larger than themselves. In fact, they can be a significant source of whitetail predation in some of their range.
Bobcat and Lynx are both part of the Lynx family; differences between the two species can be subtle, so people often mistake them in the wild. Here in Wisconsin, we are relatively close to an overlap in lynx and bobcat ranges. Sighting either is possible, but a lynx sighting in Wisconsin is very rare. In fact, the last positively confirmed lynx in Wisconsin was in 1992. Scientists don’t believe there was ever a breeding population of Lynx in the state. Individuals that are sighted are likely traveling south from their usual habitat in search of food.
|Canada Lynx Range in North America
For more information, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
|Bobcat Range in North America
For more information, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Meet the Kodiak Bears
Meet the Mountain Lions
Meet the Bobcat & Canada Lynx
Meet the Timber Wolves
Meet the White-tailed Deer
Meet the American Bison
Meet the American Elk
Meet the Bald Eagle
Meet the Great Horned Owl
Meet the Red-tailed Hawk
Meet the Rough-legged Hawk
Meet the Peregrine Falcon
Meet the Ornate Box Turtles
Meet the Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
Meet the Fox
Meet the Sandhill Cranes
Meet the Screech Owl
Meet the Mute Swan
Meet the Non-Resident Animals