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OttersEcology, behaviour and conservation$
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Hans Kruuk

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198565871

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.001.0001

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Groups and loners: social organization

Groups and loners: social organization

(p.55) Chapter 5 Groups and loners: social organization

Hans Kruuk

Oxford University Press

Otter societies vary between species, from solitary, to organized groups and ‘rafts’ of hundreds of individuals. They are variations on a theme of female territoriality, with independent and larger male territories. Several species have male groups and solitary females. These organizations are described in diagram. Closely related species do not show similar social organizations. Social mechanisms of these groupings are discussed; one biological function of grouping is anti-predator. Home ranges may be very large, up to 250 km of bank, but for most species usually less than 50 km of bank. Most species use excavated dens or ‘holts’, which are described, and which, along sea-coasts, may contain a source of fresh water. In some populations holt and female density are correlated; in others, holts are used only occasionally.

Keywords:   social organization, otter societies, territoriality, male groups, group function, home ranges, dens

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