Alaska ’s only native cat, the lynx is the northern version of the bobcat. Weighing around 20–30 pounds, these extremely secretive animals prey primarily on snowshoe hare, a species that undergoes an 8–11 year cycle of abundance. Lynx numbers fluctuate with those of hare but lag one or two years behind.
When a hare population crashes, lynx numbers soon decline, and they sometimes travel up to 400 miles in search of food. Although snowshoe hare are an important prey for lynx, when they are scarce lynx hunt grouse, ptarmigan, squirrels, and rodents, and may even take larger animals such as caribou or Dall sheep.
Lynx are sometimes seen during long periods of summer daylight, especially in years when they are abundant. Lynx have large broad feet that function as snowshoes for winter hunting and traveling.