Animals

Photographer Wakes Up to Lynx Mama and Adorable Cubs Playing on His Deck

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Back in September of this year, Alaska resident Tim Newton awoke to a strange sound: a mysterious flapping noise accompanied by what sounded like velcro on wood. Alaska boasts diverse wildlife, so Newton and his wife were no strangers to uninvited guests on their deck and in their backyard. But this sound wasn’t what you might hear from your average bear or moose roaming nearby. Curious, Newton slowly cracked open the window to investigate, and he was greeted by a breathtaking sight: a lynx mom and her seven cubs playing on his back porch.

Lynx Tim Newton 1

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

What are Lynx?

Lynx are medium-sized wild cats, and there are four different species: the Eurasian lynx, the Canada lynx, the Iberian lynx, and the bobcat. We would guess that the lynxes Newton photographed are the Canada lynxes, which can grow to between 18 and 24 pounds and stand 19 to 22 inches tall.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the cubs have relatively large feet. That’s because their paws function as snowshoes. Lynx often live in areas where there is a lot of snowfall, so their enormous hairy paws can support more of their weight thus preventing them from sinking into the snow.

Lynx Tim Newton 6

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

“I crept over to the window and opened the curtains a crack, and could see it looked like a cat,” he told local news outlet KTUU. “I started to think nothing more of it, but then I noticed it had really big feet and little tiny hairs on its ears. So I knew then it was probably a lynx kitten — not a full grown cat.”

“Normally when you see a lynx, you have just enough time to get your camera out, and then they’re gone,” Newton said. “So I was thrilled I could get a couple pictures of them playing on the deck. And I thought that might be the end of it.”

Lynx Tim Newton 2

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

When the lynx kittens scampered off the deck, Newton discovered the rest of the litter as well as Mom. In total, he spotted eight lynx — one mom and seven babies. (Where’s dad when you need him, huh?)

“It’s like in Jurassic Park! We got the velociraptors going through the bushes — well that’s what I saw. And lo and behold, one by one, all these baby lynx came to mama and shuffled out onto the deck, right in front of me, where I was standing behind the screen.”

Lynx Tim Newton 3

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

According to the San Diego Zoo, lynx often hunt at night, so this lynx spotting is a rarity. Add to that the fact that lynx usually have a litter of only two to four cubs, and the situation gets even more unusual. Knowing how unlikely it was that the lynx would stay around long, Newton started taking photo after photo. However, the noise from the camera confused the lynx as they could not see Newton from his spot inside the house.

“They’re kind of confused that there might be anything near, because I’m behind the screen,” Newton explained. “But they can hear my camera. That’s that one picture where you see them on the deck. They’re looking at the noise.”

Lynx Tim Newton 4

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

And for the next half hour or so, Newton went from window to window snapping photos of the frisky cubs and watchful Mom. “They were using the deck as a playground,” he says. “And those cats were chasing each other, and frolicking, and crouching and running. Just back and forth, across that deck.”

Eventually, Newton ventured outside to get an even clearer shot. “I actually had my bathrobe on,” Newton said. “So I didn’t have legs, as far as the kits could tell. And I didn’t have eyes or a head. I just had this big round thing that went ‘click, click, click.’ So I think the little kittens didn’t have any clue what I might be.”

Lynx Tim Newton 5

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of Tim Newton)

In mid-November, the lynx cubs returned right after a snowfall, and you can see more adorable play-fighting in the clip below.

If you fell in love with these gorgeous little creatures, you can still snag a lynx 2018 monthly calendar from Newton’s website Rugged Alaska. You can also bring the magic of the Alaskan wilderness to you home with lynx posters and magnets. So amazing!

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