Tuesday 12 April 2011

Lynx Kittens Fight Each Other

Lynx kittens fighting
Photo by Joachim S. Müller (Flickr)

Lynx kittens of the same litter fight each other spontaneously and in a manner that is so violent that it can cause serious injury and even death. What is going on?

Anastasia Antonevich and Sergey Naidenko are conducting research into this phenomenon that goes far beyond simple sibling hard play and rivalry. These are serious unprovoked attacks by one sibling on another.

They have observed sudden attacks by one kitten on another. The mother has to beak it up. Injuries can be serious and include bites to the paw and neck. Sometimes limbs are broken and a cub is occasionally killed.

The fighting has been observed between 7 week old Eurasian lynx cubs (60% of time) and can go on for several days. "Almost all of the litters.." of the Iberian lynx fought in this violent way. The fights occur once but the hostility can last for several months.

The research investigates why lynx kittens fight each other so violently and how these fights affect the development of the cubs. They are not motivated by shortages of food.

Bobcats apparently also demonstrate sibling aggression. It is not known whether the Canadian lynx litters engage in these fights.

The fights occur in the wild and in captivity. My observations? Well I am not sure. It seems that the young lynx starts to prepare for independent survival at a very early age. When adult these siblings will have to survive in competition with each other. Perhaps the competition starts at 7 weeks of age for the lynx and the sooner one can dominate and even eliminate another so much the better for the winner.

See also rewilding of lynx wildcat.

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  1. I have 2 bobcat kittens, and the other day they started fighting each other. And would not stop, I broke it up twice then the third Tim they would not let go of each others throats. I had to kick them to get them to seperate. Before one of them died. What can i do? Will it continue or will they get past this thing?..

    1. In my article I say that the violence can last several months. I sense that it will not stop. That is my gut feeling. It is permanent situation I feel. But I could be wrong.

      The only solution is to separate them. Can you rehome one?

      Thanks for commenting.

    2. Thank you so much for your responce, I suppose I could rehome one, but don't know off hand anyone that would be responsable enough to take the kind of long term commitment required to care for them.
      Hector I think can be rehabilitated easily enough to go to wild. I live in a rual area but there are houses 1-2miles away and kids ride go carts down my rd. I'm only house on rd. And I'm afraid someone would see him and shoot him on site for fun.
      Do you have any suggestions?

    3. Would you let me do an article on my main website?


      and put the question to the regular visitors and also give myself time to figure it out. It won't take long. One of my regulars is a Florida lady who does feral cat rescue and who loves bocats. She may help.

    4. Yes that is fine with me. I have raised and released several racoons and yawns and even oppossums, I love animals and have a great deal of respect for them. I only want what's best for them. I would like to talk to you some more about this and other related things .

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