Cougars vs. bobcats vs. lynx

  • Updated: February 17, 2009 - 11:32 PM

Canada lynx

Photo: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

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Cougars, also called mountain lions, are the largest wild cats in North America. They are tan, 6 to 9 feet long, including the long rope-like tail, which hangs nearly to the ground and curls up again. They weigh 100 to 200 pounds. They are native to Minnesota, though probably were never here in large numbers. It is protected in Minnesota, meaning it can't be hunted or trapped.

Bobcats, also native to Minnesota, are much smaller cats and have very short, or "bobbed," tails. They usually are light brown or gray, with a white, black-spotted belly. They are 26 to 36 inches long, with a 4- to 7-inch tail. They weigh from 20 to 30 pounds. About 2,000 are believed to inhabit northern Minnesota, and about 200 are taken each winter by licensed trappers.

The Canada lynx is Minnesota's other wild cat. It is about the same size as a bobcat, but with brown fur with white undersides, long ear tufts, and a pronounced goatee. They are about 3 feet long, including a 4-inch stub tail. Adults weigh from 20 to 44 pounds. It is a threatened species and is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. An estimated 80 to 200 live in Minnesota.

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