Kevin J. Sullivan
Title of study - Diel activity and movement patterns of adult bobcats in central Mississippi
Date of thesis - August 1995
I obtained baseline data on activity and movement of free-ranging bobcat (Lynx rufus) in a forest ecosystem. Findings of this study when compiled with the findings of a companion study which assessed bobcat home range, habitat use and core use areas, will be valuable in understanding the ecology of the bobcat within a forest management system. Thirty-one bobcats were captured between 1989-1990 in 4,992 trap-nights, and 13 (6 female, 7 male) received radiotransmitters and were monitored to determine activity and movement patterns. Motion-sensitive transmitters were used to determine bobcat activity and a mercury dip switch indicated if the bobcat was moving. Bobcats were monitored for 1 minute every 10 minutes and location of the bobcat was determined every 40 minutes during a 6-hour period to determine annual, seasonal, and diel activity and movement patterns. Three way ANOVA was used to determine differences in activity and movement among sex, season, and time of day.
Female bobcats were active 49% and males were active on average 60% of the time. Activity significantly differed between sexes only for winter. Mean percentage activity for males (0.71) was greater (P <0.01) than activity of females (0.44). Both male and females bobcats exhibited greatest activity during crepuscular and nocturnal time periods. Female bobcats moved an average 0.35 km/hr, while males moved 0.37 km/hr. Male bobcats moved at a greater rate than females only during winter (P = 0.01). Males moved more during daylight in winter than at night. Movement of male and female bobcats was greater during crepuscular time periods compared to midday. Intensity of monitoring in this study exceeded previous studies, enabling better quantification of bobcat activity and movement. Results of this study are consistent with previous research, although there was less defined bimodal crepuscular activity and movement patterns. Many studies indicating a perfect crepuscular pattern may be masked by the lack of sampling intensity.