Bobcat Habitat Use and Home Range Size in Relation to Prey Density
Journal of Wildlife Management
Bobcat (Felis rufus) diet, habitat use, and home range size were studied in relation to snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) density and distribution in 2 areas in Maine during 1979-84. Hare remains occurred in 63-76% of bobcat feces collected during all seasons in both areas. Habitat use patterns of 12 transmitter-equipped bobcats in eastern Maine indicated that they used hardwood understories more, and softwood and mixedwood understories less than expected (P < 0.05). Nine bobcats in western Maine preferred softwood understories (P < 0.05). Bobcats avoided sparse understories (<12,000 stem cover units/ha) and topographic slopes >5° (P < 0.05). The average home range of resident male bobcats (95.7 km2) was 3× as large as that of resident females (31.2 km2) (P < 0.05), and home range size was correlated with bobcat weight (r2 = 0.45, P < 0.002). Metabolic home range size (km2/kg0.75 body wt) of bobcats was inversely correlated with stem cover unit density and estimated hare density (r2 = 0.22, P < 0.05). Estimated hare density and average topographic slope within bobcat home ranges accounted for 50% of the variation in metabolic home range size (P < 0.006).
Litvaitis, J. A., J. A. Sherburne, and J. A. Bissonette. 1986. Bobcat habitat use and home range size in relation to prey density. J. Wildlife Management 50(1):110-117.