The Elusive Lynx – Dinner and a Show
Randall Plant and Yukiko Hayano live on the Anchorage, Alaska hillside and recently had a visitor join them for dinner. They were able to photograph the various stages of a Lynx in their yard stalking, catching, playing with, and eating a Vole. What an incredible wildlife viewing opportunity in their own backyard, quintessentially Alaskan!
Lynx typically weigh between 18 and 30 pounds and normally travel between one to five miles per day. They are distinguished easily by their soft dense fur, the long tufts on the tips of the ears, a black-tipped tail and long legs with very large furry feet that essentially function as built in snowshoes. When you actually do see a Lynx, they are primarily hunting and traveling at walking speed but can have quick bursts of speed in times of defense or to capture their prey. They have no problem climbing trees but hunt mostly on the ground. While their diet consists primarily of hares (rabbits), they will eat other animals, including voles, when the opportunity is there.
Millions of voles live in Alaska and are one of the smallest mammals. Unfortunately for the vole they are one of the basic primary food sources for all kinds of animals from fish (rainbow trout and pike will feast on them if in the water), birds, lynx, fox, wolves and even bears. With a typical vole life lasting less than a year, the females can have as many as 6 litters in a year. They move around and are active during the winter but spend most of their time under the snow. They stay under the snow as visual protection from predators and to help stay warm. They move around between their nests and the areas they eat with a vast network of tunnels. In the spring after the snow has melted you can often see the tunnel routes in the dead grass. It is probably in one of these tunnels or nests that the Lynx below found its meal.
You never know when you might have the great opportunity for some wildlife viewing in Alaska. You could be enjoying your own dinner in Anchorage and one of Alaska’s elusive animals, the Lynx, joins you to show off its hunting prowess and dine on a Vole.
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