River otter (Lontra canadensis) populations have been difficult to monitor and information on densities is lacking throughout their range. To obtain DNA-based population estimates of river otters we developed 2 traps to capture hair; a modified body-snare and a modified foot-hold trap. Of 82 traps activated 77 captured hairs (94%). Traps snagged 3–20 guard hairs per capture. Our capture rates of otter hair ranged from one capture per 3.6 trap nights to one capture per 156.6 trap-nights. Our traps provide an effective, noninvasive technique for obtaining hair DNA from individual river otters.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2