Does the Eurasian lynx avoid strictly cold water?

Co-author Irina Rotenko

It looks like among both amateurs and researchers of the Eurasian lynx an opinion is wide-spread that the species strictly avoids cold water, in particular crossing cold waters of streams by swimming. Before camera-trapping by dealing with lynxes already quite a lot (study on population dynamics and diet in connection with changes in prey supply), we think like that, too.

Nowadays by using camera-traps and checking the question, we can say that lynxes are able to cross cold water by shorter or longer swimming. Also, it can walk up to 300 meters, at least, in cold water with legs and belly waterlogged. At the same time, we still fully agree that lynxes anyway prefer to be dry.

To argue that lynxes used crossing cold waters, we would like to demonstrate several examples.

This adult male evidently neglected the cold water of the river to cross it. It is January, water temperature was around 6 degree C.

This lynx is risky crossing cold stream. It is February, water temperature was around 5 degree C.
Crossing of the same stream by lynx with belly and legs waterlogged. In this case to get the opposite bank the lynx needed to swim about 15 meters. It is February, water temperature was 1-2 degree C, air temperature was -7 degree C.
You see fully wet lynx. To get this point within flooded large valley of a medium-sized river, the lynx had swimming about 30 meters minimally and walking with legs and belly waterlogged in several places. It is March, water temperature was around 2 degree C, air temperature was 4 degree C.
You see a lynx is crossing stream. This case in early May the lynx used the fallen tree and the jam of reed to walk across the stream. In November-April to reach the tree lynxes used swimming for 5 meters, when they cross the stream from the right side to the left bankside. Going back they jumped from the tree to the right bankside.

Also, we registered regular swimming of two adult male lynxes across a medium sized river in the cold season, when the river is not ice-bound. It was swimming minimally for 30 meters. Both males were regularly photo-documented on both sides of the river, and there is no any bridge nearby. See the river below.

You can support the research on large carnivores in Naliboki Forest by buying just a coffee. It will help to keep the study going.

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