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Summer movements and activity patterns of river otters in Northeastern Ohio, USA

Author(s): David A. Helon | Chris P. Dwyer | Mark D. Witt, et al.

Journal: Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
ISSN 2220-8860

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 181;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: activity patterns | Killbuck Watershed | Lontra canadensis | movements | river otter | wetlands

It is important to understand river otter (Lontra canadensis) movement and activity patterns for successful management and reintroduction plans. As part of a river otter study conducted in the Killbuck Watershed, the largest wetland complex in Ohio, USA outside of the Lake Erie marshes, 11 river otters were radio-tagged and monitored for movements and activity patterns. Twenty-seven 24-hour monitoring surveys were conducted during summer months (June-July) of 2002 and 2003. The mean movement distance of female river otters ( MEAN = 1.8 km, SE = 0.23) was less (P = 0.0012) than the mean movement distance of male river otters ( MEAN = 5.2 km, SE = 0.73). River otters were more active than inactive from 2201-0400 hrs (71% active), followed by 0401-1000 hrs (68% active), and 1601-2200 hrs (45% active); they were more inactive than active from 1001-1600 hrs (14% active). These results show that river otters can move long distances and it is important to manage not only wetland systems but riparian corridors that aid in dispersal of river otters to other wetland complexes and watersheds.
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