Prey Utilization By Bobcats On Quail Plantations In Southern Alabama

Prey utilization by bobcats (Lynx rufus) was studied on 2 quail (Colinus virginianus) plantations in southern Alabama from 1975 through 1977. Estimates of relative densities of principal prey species were obtained by various procedures. Analysis of 136 stomachs, 137 large intestines, and 218 scats indicated that the cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) and the cottontail rbbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) were the 2 most important food items. The cotton rat had the highest frequency of occurrence and the cottontail rabbit was second for each month of the year. Mammals as a group were more important than birds in the bobcat's diet. Despite its high density on the study areas, the bobwhite quail was unimportant in the bobcat's diet. This study revealed that the bobcat is not a serious decimating factor of bobwhite quail in southern Alabama. Prey utilization was related to both prey availability and prey size.

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