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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 302–310 | Cite as

Home range sizes of wildcats (Felis sylvestris) and feral domestic cats (Felis sylvestris f. catus) in a hilly region of Hungary

  • Z. BiróEmail author
  • L. Szehethy
  • M. Heltai
Original investigation

Abstract

The most important factor concerning wild cat populations is the loss of habitat. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the size of the home ranges of wild and domestic cats along with the features of these areas (vegetation, elevation, proximity to human settlement, etc.). A total of 16 wildcats and 19 domestic cats were caught and fitted with radio collars within the period between 1989–1993. It was possible to analyze the radiotelemetry data of 4 wildcats and 3 domestic cats. It resulted that the wildcats occupied larger home ranges than the domestic cats, however, there were exceptions. Home range size variability was extensive in both species. The males occupied larger areas than the females. This was most likely due to the reproductional wandering of males into female home ranges. Also the overlap between the home ranges of males was larger than that of females. However, there were very small overlaps between the core areas. No cats used the same sites at the same time. This indicates that the home ranges of cats exist only in space and time as well. Although these animals are solitary, there was some indication that hierarchy exists between males.

Key words

Felis silvestris Felis silvestris f. catus home range 

Die Größe der Aktionsräume von Wildkatzen (Felis silvestris) und Hauskatzen (Felis silvestris f. catus) in einer ungarischen Hügellandschaft

Zusammenfassung

Der größte Risikofaktor für die Wildkatzenpopulationen ist der Lebensraumschwund. Deshalb müssen wir die Größe der Aktionsräume von Wild- und Hauskatzen sowie die Merkmale dieser Gebiete (Vegetation, Lage, Nähe zu menschlichen Siedlungen) einschätzen. Zwischen 1989 und 1993 wurden 16 Wildkatzen und 19 Hauskatzen eingefangen und mit je einem Radiosender versehen. Die Daten von 4 Wildkatzen und 3 Hauskatzen konnten analysiert werden. Die Wildkatzen verfügten über einen größeren Aktionsraum als die Hauskatzen. Im Fall beider Formen war die Variabilität der Aktionsraumgrößen erheblich. Die Männchen beanspruchten größere Gebiete als die Weibchen. Das ist wahrscheinlich auf das Streunen der Männchen während der Paarungszeit zurückzuführen. Die Überlappung der Aktionsräume der Männchen war ebenfalls größer, gleichzeitig war aber die Überlappung der Kerngebiete sehr klein. Sie haben nicht das gleiche Gebiet zur gleichen Zeit genutzt. So kann man sagen, daßdie Aktionsräume der Katzen nicht nur räumlich, sondern auch zeitlich existieren. Obwohl Katzen Einzelgänger sind, schien es so, daßunter den Männchen eine Hierarchie existiert.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife Biology and ManagementSt. Stephens UniversityGödöllőHungary

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