Bobcat Home Range Size Relative to Habitat Quality

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) home range is generally considered to be a function of habitat quality, but there have been few published studies that explicitly address this idea. We used empirically developed bobcat habitat models to predict habitat quality within bobcat home ranges on 2 study areas in central Mississippi. We then assessed the relationship between home range size and habitat quality. Habitat quality and variability of habitat quality were not (P>0.10) predictors of home range size. Moreover, habitat quality differed statistically (P<0.01), and habitat composition differed qualitatively between study areas, yet there were no differences (P=0.14) in bobcat home range size between study areas. We suggest that the effect of habitat quality on bobcat home range size may diminish as habitat quality increases, and we offer alternative hypotheses to explain bobcat home range size.

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