Wild Cat Trapped near Town a Bobcat-Lynx Hybrid

by Atikokan Progress on January 13, 2011

Bobcat sightings are fairly rare here, but something even more unlikely turned up at the dump recently.

What appears to be not quite a Lynx, and not quite a Bobcat, has both MNR and the Town’s wild animal control officer Albert Clement suspecting that the body of an animal that was caught in a snare set to trap wolves was a hybrid.

The animal bears a number of Bobcat characteristics in its facial features, smaller feet, shorter tail, and the absence of ear tufts, but its larger size and the lack of dense spotting are more typical of Lynx.

“From what we can tell, it looks like a Bobcat,” said MNR biologist Brian Jackson, “It’s possible it is a Lynx-Bobcat hybrid.”

The MNR have collected DNA samples from the animal and are attempting to confirm that it is indeed a hybrid, he added. Such cross species have been documented in Minnesota, where the two species come in contact along bordering ranges.

“Bobcat are fairly common – or more common – west of Fort Frances in farming country where you have less snow,” he said. “As you get into more forested country with deep snow, it tends to be more Lynx country. It’s the same thing in Minnesota; it’s the northeast corner, just south of Quetico Park where Lynx are, and then as you head down into the [lessening] boreal forest, that’s where Bobcat are. They have smaller feet – they’re not as well adapted to deeper snow.”

On average, Lynx are bigger than Bobcat, although both species vary fairly widely in weight. This animal was over 13 kilograms, which is larger than the average Bobcat, said Jackson.

Clement said he has never seen or caught a Bobcat, and neither has his father Max (on whose trapline this animal was caught), who has owned and trapped lines adjacent to town since 1957. Of course, they have also never caught a creature quite like this before either.

“My dad used to catch Bobcat when he trapped in the Rainy River area and they had shorter legs, smaller feet, no tassels on the ears and the bellies are spotted,” said Clement. In spite of the many Bobcat similarities however, “this is a very large female at almost 30 lbs – which is very unusual for a Bobcat.”

bigcatrescue.org

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