Seasonal use of latrines by bobcats: implications for monitoring programs

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Abstract

Latrines serve as important communication networks among felids for transmitting information relative to social dominance, reproductive status, and defense of hunting areas. During January 2011–August 2012, we monitored 10 bobcat (Lynx rufus) latrines in the northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) of Michigan, USA, using motion-sensitive cameras to estimate bobcat visitation and scat deposition rates among 3 biological seasons (mating, kitten-rearing, non-mating). Bobcat visitation rates differed among the 3 seasons. We found equal number of visits during the mating and kitten-rearing seasons, and lower visitation rates during the non-mating season. Scat deposition rates differed among the 3 seasons. We found a net gain of scats deposited during the mating and non-mating seasons, whereas there was a net loss of scats during the kitten-rearing season. An artificial latrine protocol we developed yielded visitation at 4 of 12 artificial latrine sites. Monitoring natural and artificial latrines during the mating and kitten-rearing seasons could provide valuable data for managing bobcat populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
StatePublished - 2020

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