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Diet of otters Lutra lutra in central Finland


, : Diet of otters Lutra lutra in central Finland. Acta Theriologica 41(4): 395-408

The diet of otters Lutra lutra (Linnaeus, 1758) in central Finland was studied in 1988-1993 by analyzing 1506 spraints. The main components of the diet of otters are fish and amphibians. The most important fishes for otters are small (body length mostly less than 15 cm) cyprinids, perches and pikes. The composition of food varies seasonally. In winter amphibians are the most important prey (33.2% of all food). Perches, pikes and cyprinids are important during all seasons, but in winter small sculpins (9.8% of the food) and burbots (8.9%) are also important. In spring the most important prey are cyprinids (38.7% of the food). Amphibians are important, especially in the smallest streamlets (in winter, 68.4% of the food). Otters also eat toads Bufo bufo. In some areas crayfish and mammals are quite important; but for most otters in the study area salmonids, birds, reptiles, insects, mollusks and plants are only occasional food. Most of the otters in the study area live in small forest rivers. In central Finland in winter amphibians and sculpins are of great importance for otters living in small rivers.

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