European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 363–370 | Cite as

Ranging behaviour and socio-biology of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) on lowland mesotrophic river systems

  • Lughaidh Ó NéillEmail author
  • Tijmen Veldhuizen
  • Addy de Jongh
  • John Rochford
Original Paper


We examined the spatial structure and socio-biology of a native wild population of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) on mesotrophic rivers in a mild temperate climate. Radio-tracking of 20 individuals revealed exclusive intra-sexual adult home-ranges. Adult female home-ranges (7.5 km, SD = 1.5 km, n = 7) were inversely related to river width (\(R_{{\text{adj}}}^2 = 0.68\), F 6 = 13.5, P = 0.014) and so appeared to be based on food resources. The aquatic area within adult male home-ranges (30.2 ha, SD = 9.5 ha, n = 5) was greater than that within adult female’s (16.8 ha, SD = 7.0 ha) (t 10 = 2.437, P = 0.035), though this result is inconclusive because some males were tracked on oligotrophic rivers. One adult male expanded its range from 10.2 km to 19.3 km within 5 days of the death of the neighbouring male, suggesting that male home-ranges were heavily influenced by conspecifics.


Home-range Telemetry Mustelid Spatial-organisation 



We thank P. Wilson, Tj. de Jong, E. Ó Néill, D. Ó hÓgáin, L. Nesterko, and L. Pembroke for their help with the fieldwork. For helpful comments throughout the study and in the preparation of this manuscript, we thank H. Kruuk, R. Macdonald, K. Irvine, N. Marples, and L. Finnegan. Thanks also to F. Marnell, P. Stafford, and the staff and students of the Department of Zoology TCD for their support and advice throughout the study. This work was funded by the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Dutch Otterstation Foundation. The experiments presented in this paper comply with the Irish law.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lughaidh Ó Néill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tijmen Veldhuizen
    • 2
  • Addy de Jongh
    • 3
  • John Rochford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, School of Natural SciencesTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Marine Biology, Biological CentreUniversity of GroningenHarenNetherlands
  3. 3.Dutch Otterstation FoundationLeeuwardenNetherlands

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