Feeding habits of otters living on three moors in the Pannonian ecoregion (Hungary)

József Lanszki, Gabriella L. Széles

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Diet composition and feeding habits of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) living on three moors (Baláta, Nagyberek and Fehérvíz) in Hungary were studied over two years using spraint analysis (n = 199, 503 and 315 samples from the three moors, respectively). The food and presence of otters in the first moderate and second drought year, when the moors dried during the summer period, generally differed. Area-dependent variations in the diet were also found. The primary food source was fish (biomass estimation for the first and second year: Baláta 94.4% and 99.9%; Nagyberek 93.9% and 71.5%; Fehérvíz 66.4% and 82.1%). Most fish (mean: 94.6-99.9%) were small-sized (below 100 g in weight), and the most frequently taken species was Carassius spp. On moors, which are dependent on rainfall and ground-water only, during or after periods of drought otters temporarily changed their diet from optimal prey (fish) to sub-optimal prey (e.g., waterfowl) and they often left the habitat entirely. On moors with small canals, during periods of drought otters kept fish as the dominant food source, and weathered out extreme environmental local conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-366
Number of pages9
JournalFolia Zoologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2006



  • Diet
  • Drought period
  • Fish
  • Lutra lutra
  • Spraint analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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