Lynx tracks in the snow: how to locate a wild cat

Experienced trackers know that a lot of information can be found out from the print of an animal’s footprint: gender, age, where it was headed, and how long it was. Tracks of lynx in the snow are quite characteristic and not difficult to identify. The traveler who discovered them has the opportunity not only to see this wild cat, but also to study its behavior in its natural habitat.

Features of the structure of the paw and trail of the lynx

Lynx has an average physique. It is characterized by a body length in the range of 110-120 cm and a weight of about 30 kg. The cat leads a sedentary, hidden from people way of life, therefore it is not always possible to find it.


Lynx is well adapted to low temperatures and a lot of snow. In this regard, you can meet her in most of Russia. The exception is only some areas of the far north and southern steppe zones.

Like all feline representatives, the lynx belongs to the finger-walking species of animals. This means that when walking the support is made specifically on the fingers, and not on the entire foot.

All four of her limbs are equipped with sharp retracting claws. It has five toes on the front legs, and only four on the hind legs. But at the same time, all prints on the surfaces will have a four-fingered impression. This is due to the fact that the fifth finger is smaller and higher than the rest, so when moving it does not touch the ground.

The lynx has rather large paws of a rounded shape. The average print size varies from 6 to 9 cm when measured along the edges of the crumbs. It is worth considering that the forelimbs are wider, but shorter than the hind limbs. In winter, the imprint of a wild cat in the snow can have a diameter of up to 15-17 cm. This is explained by the presence of thick fur on its paws, which blurs the outlines of the tracks. But even this does not put the animal confused with other representatives of the fauna. The exception is that the snowy footprint is similar to the paws of a snow leopard, it is also an snow leopard, but it is quite difficult to find the place where both cats live together.

Travel Features

Tracks of lynx in the snow differ from the wolf or fox, as they are located not in a straight line, but in a snake. If the snow is not deep, then the prints of the hind limbs will be slightly ahead of the front. If the snowdrifts are significant, the animal will move, placing the hind legs in the recesses from the front.

In addition to the tortuous nature of the trajectory of the big cat, its other feature is the frequent presence of traces of the animal sitting or laying in the snow. The burden of the lynx is not large, which allows it to hunt even in loose snow. If the footprints are nevertheless quite deeply recessed, and it is difficult to determine their affiliation in form, then this can be done by the length of the step.

The indicator treads vary as follows:

  • Adult male - 60-80 cm. Depth in a snowdrift - up to 30 cm;
  • Adult female - 45-47 cm. Depth - up to 16 cm;
  • Cubs - 35-40 cm. Depth - up to 14 cm.

Even with the ability to move around in soft snow, the lynx will prefer more convenient trails to snowdrifts if possible. And if necessary, camouflage, will lead a tangled path through trees, stumps and ice.

In order to disguise the lynx can make its way through the trees

The easiest way to determine the snowy marks of the female with the offspring, since they move in one group. At the same time, kittens often try to follow strictly in the footsteps of their mother and do not neglect to lie about in the snow between cases, leaving characteristic prints.

Trace Freshness Determination

In order to determine at least an approximate distance to a wild cat, you must have the skills to assess the freshness of its tracks. In fact, this is a very simple process.

Lynx trail

First of all, you need to know that the lynx can move fast enough, especially if it is in the process of hunting. For a day she is able to overcome several tens of kilometers, so if the trail she left does not look fresh and can be attributed to him for at least two days, then most likely the animal has gone a very far distance, and there is no sense in looking for it.

Completely inexperienced naturalists can use the comparison method to evaluate the freshness of the footprint. To do this, next to the detected paw print, you must leave your handprint. This will help to evaluate the nature of the prints and understand how they differ. If there are very few differences, then most likely the track was left by a trot not so long ago.

The fact that the paw print was left recently can be indicated by the presence of a light powder of snow around the recess. Such a powder is formed when a limb is taken out of the hole and if it has not yet managed to completely equal the rest of the snow surface, then the animal has not had time to go too far. Snow trail tends to smooth and harden under the influence of low temperatures. And the harder the growth on it, the more time has passed since it was left. On average, this process begins to occur after 20-25 minutes, but if the frost is below 15 degrees, then the time can be reduced to 10-13 minutes.

A very simple way to determine the freshness of traces left is to use a simple stick or branch. She is held along the print, dividing it in half. The result is evaluated as follows:

  • Easy to cut. The track is fresh, it is less than 6 hours;
  • When cutting the stick slightly deviates to the side. The print is more than 6-7 hours, but less than a day;
  • The footprint cannot be divided, and the branch is slightly deformed. Lynx was in this place more than 24 hours ago.

It is worth remembering that weather conditions can affect the nature of paw prints. For example, strong winds can scatter them in a few minutes. For this reason, the most defined traces are easier to detect in gorges or ravines than in open areas.

Determination of the direction of movement

To determine the direction of movement of the lynx, it is necessary to have an idea of ​​some concepts:

  • The ceiling is the back wall of the track;
  • Dragging - the front wall.

The trot at the lynx is always longer than the draggings. If you look closely at the track, you will notice that one side of it is always more gentle, and the other is steep. This is because the animal lowers its paw at an angle, and raises it almost straight. In this case, the front wall is often sealed and deformed, and the back is well defined. It is the steeper and shorter walls of the trace imprint that will indicate the direction of movement of the cat.

Individuals who are experienced in locating wild animals know that footprints are not the only indicators to navigate. Their excrement, claw marks and food debris are no less informative.

Watch the video: How To Identify Cat Tracks (April 2020).