Our wildlife cameras sometimes capture beautiful photos of otters such as this one!
We have an entire gallery of photos and videos from our wildlife cameras available in a picasa web gallery here https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/112037402679015150728/albums/5877160117660504593.
Monitoring and Mapping
We monitored sites once per month to document the amount of otter activity (scat, tracks, scent mounds) at each site and to collect scat for diet analysis. We mapped 150 sites with otter activity on the Island, and visited those sites once per month to document the amount of otter scat and activity at each site. Based on activity patterns, we selected 20 latrine sites as baseline sites for future monitoring. Between October 2010 and December 2012, Liz Baldwin monitored these sites to study Vineyard coastal river activity patterns using motion sensing wildlife cameras for her RiverOtterActivityPatterns M.S. Thesis. Mapping of overland trails is ongoing each winter, when the leaves are off the trees and shrubs. For coastal otter biology/behavior information, click here.
Otter Diet Analysis
We collected over 300 otter scat samples and used a sub-set of these to create a guide to otter diet analysis for the region that was distributed to several Island science teachers. Identification of prey in the remaining samples will be complete in fall of 2012. Otters in southeastern Massachusetts eat a variety of fish and crustaceans. Most surprising to us, was the relative abundance of small fish species in otter scat. Some of these species include Mummichog and Golden Shiner: