Probably the least seen animals in the Rockies are
Bobcats and Lynxes and for good reason. This is the most rare
of the cats of Alberta. When hunting, they prefer to hide
and wait for their prey. They are the perfect "ambush"
hunter. They like ledges, from where they can jump down on
prey, and thickets where they can use their camouflage expertise.
They have a short "burst speed" and will seldom
chase a potential meal for more than 200 or 250 feet. They
like to live along small rivers and usually come out to hunt
in the daylight hours.
A bobcats' coat is yellowish brown and spotted. Hard to see
are the dark horizontal stripes on the front and near the limbs.
Notice the black bars on each cheek
Both species breed from February to May with one to five kittens
in a litter. The more scarce food becomes the fewer offspring
will be produced. This way they do not outgrow their food supply.
They average about 3 feet in length and
have brownish coats in the summer. The extra long rear legs,
smaller size and very large paws make them easy to distinguish
from their cousin the Cougar. When hunting is good they can
reach 40 pounds.
A Lynx differs from a bobcat
as it has a shorter tail, longer legs, much longer and pointy
ear tufts, longer facial ruff and larger paws. You would be really
lucky to get close enough to see that the end of a lynx's tail
is black. There are more Lynx in Alberta than anywhere else and
they are the true "Canadian" species. They feed on snowshoe
hares and can make a meal of 200 or more hares in a year. If hares
are scarce (hare today and gone tomorrow!) lynx (and bobcats)
will feed on mice, squirrels, grouse, ptarmigan and other small
There have been reports of sightings of Lynx and
Bobcat near Lake Louise but, as with most wildlife, your best
bet is to look further north in Jasper National Park.