SREL Reprint #1142




Influence of Density on Movement Behavior and Home Range Size of Adult Bobcats on the Savannah River Plant

M. A. Griffith and T. T. Fendley



Five adult bobcats (Lynx rufus floridanus) monitored on the Savannah River Plant, South Carolina from August 1980 to July 1981 produced estimates of home range size and movement patterns that were different from those obtained in a previous study using the same general area 1-2 years earlier.  These differences were more pronounced among males and were attributed to territorial behavior as influenced by population density.  Average seasonal and annual home range estimates were 775 and 1409 ha for females and 2587 and 6216 ha for males respectively.  There were significant differences between sexes and seasons in the average minimum total distance moved per diel tracking period with male and female bobcats averaging 10.2 and 6.8 km annually, respectively.  Seasonal differences within a given sex were significant for male bobcats only with the breeding season accounting for this difference.  During the breeding season, males moved an average of 16.4 km while females moved only 6.5 km.  Significant differences were also evident between sexes and seasons in the average distance moved per 2 hour intervals with male and female bobcats moving on average annual interval distance of 723 and 525 m, respectively.  For the most part, female bobcats exhibited crepuscular movement patterns with peaks in activity occurring from 0400-0800 hours and from 1800-2200 hours consistently through all seasons.  Male bobcats followed this pattern during the spring, summer, and fall seasons, but exhibited increased amounts of day time movements during the winter months, peaking at 1000-1400 hours.  During the breeding season, male activity was greatest from 2200-0800 hours and 1200-1800 hours (minimum amounts of loafing).  Bobcat movement behavior observed in the study may be typical of exploited populations.  They suggest differing reproductive strategies between sexes and that the degree of territory occupation has an important influence on seasonal movement behavior and home range size of males.


Key words:  Bobcats, home range movements, population density, South Carolina.


SREL Reprint #1142

Griffith, M.A. and T.T. Fendley. 1986. Influence of density on movement behavior and home range size of adult bobcats on the Savannah River Plant. p. 261-275. In Second International Cat Symposium: Cats of the World: Biology, Conservation and Management, edited by S.D. Miller and D. Everet. Ceaser Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute and National Wildlife Federation. Kingsville, TX.

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