Space use and habitat selection have been studied extensively in mammalian carnivores, and it is widely accepted that many factors influence these parameters. Although landscape characteristics are perceived to be important in how carnivores use their environment, relatively few studies have evaluated influences of landscape features on carnivore behavior. We examined relationships between landscape pattern and space use in sympatric bobcats (Lynx rufus), coyotes (Canis latrans) and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in central Mississippi during 1989–1997. We quantified landscape features within three different spatial scales (3000, 4500 and 6000 m) centered on home ranges of 46 bobcats, 12 coyotes and 22 gray foxes. We evaluated a suite of class- and landscape-level variables and their influence on space use of each species. Linear mixed models suggested that habitat interspersion (intermixing), patch shape (complexity) and edge contrast were important predictors of space use in bobcats. We failed to detect any relationships between landscape pattern and space use of coyotes and gray foxes. We offer that the relationships we observed are related to, and can be explained by, ecology and behavioral adaptations of each species.
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Vol. 155 • No. 2