Bobcat Prey Digestibility and Representation in Scats

Nine bobcats (Felis rufus) trapped from the Coastal Plain of Georgia in fall 1989 were fed weighed amounts of cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus), hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus), eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinesis), domestic rabbits, a juvenile feral hog (Sus scrofa), and adult white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to develop correction factors to convert mass of prey remains in scats to an estimate of mass of prey consumed for different prey types. Dry matter digestibility increased with increasing prey size except for white-tailed deer. For prey under 4.5 kg, we developed a regression equation (r1 = 0.75, P < 0.0001) to estimate correction factors for different sizes of prey. With this information, percent biomass consumed of different prey species in bobcat diets can be estimated from remains in bobcat scats.

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