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Athabasca County No. 12 AB

Food habits of mink (Mustela vison) and otter (Lutra canadensis) in northeastern Alberta

Author(s): Gilbert, F. F.

Year: 1982

Scats of mink (Mustela vison) and otter (Lutra cawdensis) in northeastern Alberta contained different food items in different habitat types according to type of water body. Brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans) was the most frequently encountered food item in scats of both species from a drainage system dominated by lakes and for otter from a second drainage system dominated by streams. However, mink had varying hare (Lepusamericanus) as their primary food item by frequency of occurrencein this latter situation and mammalian items were significantly ( P < 0.01) more frequent. Otter scats contained more fish and invertebrates ( P < 0.01) and fewer mammals ( P < 0.01) and birds ( P < 0.05) than mink scats. Both otters and mink appeared to exploit avian species to a greater degree ( P < 0.01) in the lake-dominated drainage. The frequency of avain remains in otter scats was very high and probably reflected high utilization of breeding and moulting waterfowl.