Predatory behaviors of bobcats (Lynx rufus) that preyed on 39 radio-instrumented white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) in the Everglades during a 3-yr study, 1 April 1989–31 March 1992, are described and compared with those of other felids. Bobcats killed 33 fawns and six adults by administering ≥one bite to the neck and throat region. The maximum prey:predator weight ratio was 8:1. Twelve (31%) of 39 kills were dragged 2–10 m to concealment cover before being eaten. Twelve (71%) of 17 carcasses that were not dragged from the kill site exhibited a characteristic death form in that the head on each was twisted backwards (throat dorsal) and positioned diagonally under the shoulder. Feeding was initiated on large muscle masses, predominantly on the hindquarters. Bobcats eviscerated 29 (83%) of 35 carcasses, severed ≥ one fore- or hind-limbs from 18 (55%) of 33 kills, and plucked hair from 13 (33%) of 39 carcasses. Bobcats partially or completely covered 17 (52%) of 33 carcasses with plant litter. Thus, bobcats preying on deer in the Everglades displayed notable differences in eviscerating, feeding, and covering behaviors.
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Vol. 139 • No. 2