Kansas State University
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Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Jamie S. Johnson (1997)- Habitat Preference of Mammalian Predators in the Flint Hills of Kansas (Mentor: Phil Gipson)

Several methods, including telemetry and trapping, have been utilized to study the habitat preferences of mammalian predators. We used another technique which incorporated scent stations, that are commonly used to census predators. Often, such stations are placed alongside roads and, thus, would seemingly only census those individuals traveling along roads. This project focused upon determining the habitats preferred by key mammalian predators, including coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, and opossums. We placed scent stations in the dominant habitats at Fort Riley Army Base, and along roads in those habitats. Scent stations were baited with a fatty acid scent tablet for 24 hours and checked for signs of visitation. We concluded that predators as a group did not display a choice between forest and prairie habitats, but coyotes preferred prairie and raccoons preferred forest habitat. No preference for or avoidance of roads was detected.