Diet composition of otters (Lutra lutra l.) Living on small watercourses in Southwestern Hungary

J. Lanszki, L. G. Széles, G. Yoxon

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The diet composition of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) was studied by spraint (faecal) analysis (n = 1,460 samples), over a two-year period, on five sections of stream and channel in the Dráva region of southwest Hungary. The primary food of otters was generally fish (range: 33.3-89.9%, biomass estimation), with amphibians of secondary importance (3.4-48.5%). Highest fish consumption was found in winter and lowest in spring. Amphibians were eaten more in spring than in winter. Mammals (range 2.0-9.3%), birds (1.1-4.1%), reptiles (up to 22.2%), crayfish (up to 1.7%) and insects (0.1-4.2%) were consumed at low levels. Trophic niche breadth did not differ significantly between areas, though the widest and lowest seasonal values differed greatly (summer B = 2.48, winter B = 1.12). Otters preyed mainly on small fish (< 100 g in weight, range 88.0-96.9% biomass) at all study areas. Eurytopic (mean 72.7%) and stagnophilic fish (mean 21.7%) were taken preferentially, with lesser consumption of reophilic species (mean 5.6%). Non-native fish were taken most often (mean 71.0%, e.g. giebel carp, brown bullhead). Our results indicate that small watercourses can play an important role as regards otter habitat and, as such, should receive more attention when assessing habitats for otter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-306
Number of pages14
JournalActa Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Channel
  • Food
  • Lutra lutra
  • Non-native fish
  • Stream

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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