Foraging behavior was studied in 38 sea otters (Enhydra lutris) implanted with radio transmitters. The observed foraging behavior of instrumented individuals was similar to that of uninstrumented otters observed in previous studies: dive duration varied with prey type but not with prey size, dive success was highest for small prey, and the length of surface intervals increased with prey size. However, telemetry revealed that some otters foraged farther offshore and made longer dives than was indicated by visual observations. Individuals within age–sex classes varied in several aspects of foraging behavior, including the duration of dives and length of surface intervals. There were no overall differences between the dive durations or surface intervals during the day and during the night, though some individuals had longer dives or surface intervals during either the day or the night. There were differences in the foraging behavior of the various age–sex classes, the most striking being those between juvenile males and females. Juvenile males foraged much farther offshore (x̄ = 1280 m) in deeper water (x̄ = 30.1 m) than other otters and made long dives during both the day (x̄ = 104.4 s) and the night (x̄ = 122.7 s). Juvenile females fed for longer periods than other otters.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Foraging patterns of California sea otters as indicated by telemetry|
|Series title||Canadian Journal of Zoology|
|Publisher||NRC Research Press|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|