Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art, by John Vinycomb, , at sacred-texts.com
Felis Lynx, or mountain cat, is found in the northern parts of Europe, Asia and America, and climbs the highest trees. He preys on squirrels, deer, hares, &c. He is fond of blood and kills great numbers of animals to satisfy his unconquerable thirst. He is smaller than the panther, about three feet and a half in length, his tail is much shorter and black at the extremity. His ears are erect with a pencil of black hair at the tips. The fur is long and thick, the upper part of the body is a pale grey, the under parts white.
The sight of the lynx is said to be so piercing that the ancients attributed to it the faculty of seeing through stone walls: it may, however, be asserted with truth that it distinguishes its prey at a greater distance than any other carnivorous quadruped. On this account it is frequently employed in heraldry,
symbolising watchfulness, keenness of vision, and also the ability to profit by it.
Lynx-eyed, "oculis lynceis," originally referred to Lynceus, the argonaut, who was famed for the keenness of his vision; then it was transferred to the lynx and gave rise to the fable that it could see through a wall (notes to "Philobiblon," by E. C. Thomas).
The Accademia de Lincei, founded in Rome in 1603, with the object of encouraging a taste for natural history, adopted the name and device of the lynx because the members should have the eyes of a lynx to penetrate the secrets of nature. Galileo, Fabio Colonna, and Gianbattista Porta were among the members of the academy, the latter philosopher and mathematician, who was the inventor of the camera obscura, bore the device of the academy, the lynx, and the motto "Aspicit et inspicit" ("Looks at and looks into").
Charles IV. of Luxemburg, Emperor of Germany, adopted the lynx for his impress, with the motto, "Nullius pavit occursum" ("He fears not meeting with any one").
The Lizard Lynx is an animal of the lynx or wild cat kind of a dark brown colour, spotted black; the ears and tail are short. They are frequent in the woods of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, where they are usually termed lizards.