Living with Lynx, Bobcats and Cougars

lynxBobcats and Canada lynx can be found in many areas of Ontario. They look similar, but bobcats are usually smaller than lynx.


Bobcats and lynx are extremely shy and are rarely seen by humans.  Bobcats are exceptionally adaptable animals. They prefer woodlands but will tolerate other habitats if food is available. Lynx prefer old mature forests and only rarely are found in other habitats.


Bobcats and lynx feed on a number of small mammals, but the majority of their diet is made up of snowshoe hares and rabbits.


The last confirmed occurrence of a native cougar in Ontario was in 1884. Currently, the cougar is classed as endangered in Ontario.  However, cougar sightings occur occasionally and are investigated.


Conflicts happen


Bobcats and lynx may prey on pets, causing concern for residents.


Understandably, people fear cougars. However, no person has been attacked by a wild cougar in Ontario in more than a century.


Please keep in mind…


Wild animals have the same basic needs as humans – food, water and shelter. Sometimes, humans and wild creatures come into conflict when animals are trying to meet their basic needs. Often, conflicts can be prevented if we’re willing to make small changes to how we think and act.


People and wild animals live side by side in Ontario. We all share responsibility for preventing and handling human-wildlife conflicts. If you must take action against wildlife, please consider all your options and follow all relevant laws and regulations.



Conflicts with Lynx, Bobcats and Cougars


How Can I Prevent Conflicts?


Limit food sources

  • Put garbage in containers that have tight fitting lids. Put garbage out on the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
  • Store garbage indoors.
  • If you do not have curbside pick-up, take your garbage to the dump often.
  • Frequently wash garbage cans, recycling containers and their lids with a strong-smelling disinfectant.
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors.
  • Do not put meat, fish or sweet food (including fruit) in your composter.
  • Pick all ripe fruit from trees and bushes.
  • Remove grease and food residue from barbecue grills, including the grease cup underneath, after each use.


Make your property unwelcoming

  • Modify the habitat around your home. Light all walkways after dark and avoid landscaping with plants that deer prefer to eat. Where a deer goes, a lynx or cougar may follow.


Be aware

  • An encounter with a cougar would be rare.
  • If you believe a cougar is threatening your personal safety or that of others, call 911 or your local police.
  • If you think you see a cougar in a tree, leave it alone. Call 911 or your local police.
  • If you believe you have seen a cougar but it is not a threat to public safety, please report it to your local Ministry of Natural Resources office.



How Can I Handle a Conflict?


If you encounter a cougar or lynx

  • Never approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with young, and never offer it food.
  • Released or captive-reared cougars may be accustomed to humans and allow you to get close. Nevertheless, animals are unpredictable, and you should always exercise
  • caution.
  • If you see a cougar or lynx, stop, pick up small children and don't run. Remember, its instinct is to chase.
  • If you’re with others, stay together and act as a group. Children and pets should be kept very close.
  • Face the animal. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route.
  • Do not crouch down or try to hide. Try to appear larger.
  • Do not take your eyes off the animal or turn your back.
  • If the animal does not flee, be more assertive by shouting, waving your arms and throwing anything available.  
  • If the animal attacks, fight back with everything you have.

Lethal action is a last resort

  • Landowners may humanely kill a cougar that is damaging or about to damage their property. Firearm regulations and bylaws must be followed.
  • Landowners must report a cougar killed in protection of property to their local Ministry of Natural Resources office.



For more information and assistance…

To locate a licensed trapper...
• Contact the Ontario Fur Managers Federation at (705) 254-3338 or by e-mail at

For information on cougars or lynx…
• Call your local Ministry of Natural Resources office or the Natural Resources Information Centre at 1-800-667-1940.
• Check out Hinterland Who's Who: Lynx info  and   Cougar info



Return to Living with Wildlife - Species Fact Sheets list



Lynx hunt at night. They watch and listen for prey, but they do not seem to track it by smell. Like all members of the cat family, they move silently.