Evaluating the relationship between river otters and river otter latrines

Samantha K. Carpenter, Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla, K. Monick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources implemented a successful recovery plan for the North American river otter ( Lontra canadensis ) in Illinois between 1994 and 1997 (Bluett 2004); L. canadensis n ow occur stat ewide. Latrine sites (terrestrial communication centers where river otters scent mark with scat, urine, and glandular secretions) indicate the presence of L. canadensis . Understanding temporal patterns and spatial variation of latrine use and scat deposit ion can inform river otter conservation and management decisions. In Illinois, otter latrine surveys will be conducted between August and October to determine the distribution, status, and trends of river otters (Lesmeister and Nielsen 2011). Many aspect s of latrine use by L. canadensis remain poorly understood, including the information that otters communicate at latrine sites (Melquist et al. 2003) and the relationship between otter acti vity and scat detection rates. Understanding the relationship betwe en otter visitation rates and scat detection will help validate the use of presence - absence data from latrine surveys as a tool for population monitoring in Illinois. The goal of this study was to compare otter visitation rates and scat detection rates as sociated with two adjacent latrine sites in Illinois.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12--15
JournalRiver Otter Journal
Issue number2 (Fall-Winter 2013)
StatePublished - 2013


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