Understanding the dynamics of a disease spread requires information on various aspects of the ecology of vector species. The habitat selection and habitat use of raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides), badgers (Meles meles), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) were studied in southeastern Finland between 2000 and 2004. The aim was to find out the habitats where these species are most likely to come into contact and possibly transmit diseases, such as rabies, to each other. Raccoon dogs and badgers showed preference for fields and deciduous forests in all scales studied. Raccoon dogs favoured also watersides in summer and young mixed forests in autumn. Foxes and cats showed more individual variation in their habitat selection/use. Analysis of the overlapping areas of seasonal home ranges further demonstrated the significance of deciduous forests and fields. These, and also young mixed forests and open areas, could be called the risky habitats in terms of rabies spread.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4