The North American river otter, Lontra canadensis, is widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere but has become increasingly rare in some areas due to trapping, hunting, and environmental pollutants. Thorough research has been done on coastal and inland populations but relatively less research has been done on estuarine otter populations. This study investigated the dietary patterns in river otters in the Snohomish River Estuary in northern Washington between October 2012 and May 2013. Solitary otters were observed during 66% of recordings by a remote camera at the most sampled latrine site; however, groups as large as five were recorded on camera. Fecal analysis indicated crustacean, found in 76% of samples, as the primary food source for this population during the sampled time period and location. These data are from a limited observation and therefore preliminary, but demonstrate a need for more comprehensive research in this population of otters.
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Vol. 89 • No. 2