Highlands & Islands

Lynx links: Five things on 'blood sucking cats'

Lynx Image copyright Thinkstock

Conservation charity Trees for Life and writer George Monbiot are promoting the reinstatement of once-native Eurasian lynx to Scotland as part of efforts to "rewild" large areas of the country.

The shy and secretive animals were wiped out in Scotland more than 1,000 years ago.

They survived in continental Europe - Scandinavia, the eastern Baltic, Carpathian mountains and the Balkans. In some of these areas, their numbers have recovered from populations decimated by hunting and habitat loss by the mid 20th Century.

Five other things on the cats:

1. The Eurasian lynx, scientific name Lynx lynx, is the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf.

2. The last of Britain's big cats died out around the year 500, according to the Lynx UK Trust, but populations may have survived longer in Scotland.

3. The Eurasian lynx has distinctive black tufts at the tips of its ears.

4. They are an extremely efficient hunter, according to BBC Nature. They use stealth and pounce techniques to bring down animals four times their size, delivering a fatal bite to the neck or snout of an ambushed deer.

5. Lynx' preference to go for the throat of prey has led to a myth that the cats suck blood. This misconception was recorded by scientists in a research paper on Balkan lynx and published in the International Journal of Conservation in 2011.

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