How do Common Otters (Lutra lutra, Linnaeus 1758) Interact? Behavioral Study on a Pair of Otters in Captivity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
O. M. Azevedo, A. M. Correia, A. I. Magalhães, L. M. de Sousa
Animal Behavior and Cognition
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Common Otter is a fairly well-known species, however few studies have focused on their behavior. This is related with the challenges inherent to the observation of otters in the nature. For that reason, in the present work, a male and a female of this species in a captivity environment were observed. The aim was to provide an ethogram of Lutra lutra behavior and explore their interaction behaviors, investigating their dynamics. The otters were in “Aquamuseu do Rio Minho”, Portugal, and were observed for about 5 months at different time points and their behaviors were registered and video recorded. The ethogram developed has two main behavioral categories: 1) individual behaviors with 13 entries and 2) interaction behaviors with 19 entries. Considering the full time of videos analysis, the female spent 36.31% of the time in individual behaviors and 12.22% in interaction, while the male spent 36.45% in individual behaviors and 13.44% in interaction. Male was observed initiating the interaction behaviors more often than the female (115 against 62 times). This study constitutes an approach on Common Otter behavior repertoire and pair interaction for the species, and we suggest this work should be used to support other studies on otters in captivity, and a starting point for their study in the wild.


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