Summer Foraging Behaviour of Female Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) with Pups in Simpson Bay, Alaska

Abstract: In altricial mammals, the mother’s care and attendance are essential for the young to acquire survival skills. Not much is known about mother-pup behaviour in the sea otter population of Simpson Bay, Prince William Sound, Alaska. In this study, water depth and location of feeding females with pups of different ages were recorded. Shallow (0 to 20 m) and deep (60 to 80 m) waters were preferred for foraging over those of intermediate depths. There was no significant difference in foraging water depth relative to pup maturity, but female dive duration changed significantly with the age of the pup, likely resulting in increasing surface time for unattended pups. The range of measured dive durations increased with older pups. Dive duration was highly significantly dependent on foraging water depth.

Key Words: sea otter, Enhydra lutris, foraging females with pups, habitat choice, water depth, Alaska

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.35.4.2009.481

Page Numbers: 481-489

$12.00Add to cart