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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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Otters fishing: hunting behaviour and strategies

Otters fishing: hunting behaviour and strategies

(p.140) Chapter 9 Otters fishing: hunting behaviour and strategies

Hans Kruuk

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes foraging behaviour, and the success rates and factors that influence this. Diving of Eurasian and sea otters is quantified (depths, timing) and analysed in some detail. Some species fish cooperatively. Sea otters use tools for foraging. Otters hunt at times (time of day, tide) and places (depths, aquatic vegetation) when prey are optimally available i.e. inactive. There is a clear tendency to hunt prey in patches. Analysis of energetics of foraging suggests that most variations in foraging effort are caused by variations in water temperature. At low temperatures, otters fish close to their energetic limits in a high-risk strategy. Young of several species require 1-2 years to attain adult foraging efficiency.

Keywords:   diving, success rates, foraging efficiency, energetics, tools, cooperative foraging

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