1. bookVolume 2 (2015): Issue 1 (December 2015)
Journal Details
First Published
15 Dec 2015
Publication timeframe
1 time per year
access type Open Access

Dietary specifications reflect the feeding behaviour of the European otter (Lutra lutra) in “Strandzha” Natural Park (Bulgaria)

Published Online: 24 Jan 2018
Page range: 12 - 22
Received: 30 Oct 2014
Accepted: 11 Mar 2015
Journal Details
First Published
15 Dec 2015
Publication timeframe
1 time per year

Within the scope of the present study a field survey in the area of “Strandzha” Natural Park in south-east Bulgaria was carried out. The main goal of the investigation was to gain more detailed information on the diet of the European otters (Lutra lutra) that inhabit the park. As indicators for the presence of the mustelids a set of standard procedures, such as footprints tracking and inspecting the terrain for otter spraints were used. A total of 204 excrements were found, measured, documented and then disintegrated in water. The food rests in the faeces were investigated and the diet of the local population was documented. On the base of the results we separated the excrements into six groups and analysed the relations between the contents of the spraints and the characteristics of the habitat where they were found. We discovered a clear tendency toward piscivory in the middle and down streams of the studied rivers in the Natural Park. In the upper streams, otters relied almost exclusively on invertebrates like bivalves and crayfish as food source. The fact, that even suboptimal habitats, which offered invariable menu, were exploited by the otters is an indication for the stability of the local population.


[1] Kranz A. Otters (Lutra lutra) increasing in Central Europe: from the threat of extinction to locally perceived overpopulation? Mammalia. 1998, 64, 4, 357-368.Search in Google Scholar

[2] Adamek Z, Kucerova M, Roche K. The role of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in the diet of piscivorous predators – cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) and otter (Lutra lutra). Bull. VURH Vodnany. 1999, 4, 185–193.Search in Google Scholar

[3] Adamek Z, Kortan D, Lepic P, Andreji J. Impacts of otter (Lutra lutra L.) predation on fishponds: A study of fish remains at ponds in the Czech Republic. Aquaculture International. 2003, 11, 389–396.10.1023/A:1025787330366Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[4] Kortan D, Adamek Z, Polakova S. Winter predation by otter, Lutra lutra on carp pond systems in South Bohemia (Czech Republic). Folia Zool. 2007, 56, 4, 416–428.Search in Google Scholar

[5] English Nature. Retrieved 2010, 03-15.Search in Google Scholar

[6] Conroy J, Chanin P. The status of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Europe – a review. Proceedings of the first otter toxicology conference, Eds., Conroy, J. W. H., Yoxon, P. and Gutleb, A. C.) 2000, 7-29.Search in Google Scholar

[7] Ruiz-Olmo J, Loy A, Cianfrani C, Yoxon P, Yoxon G, de Silva PK, Roos A., Bisther M, Hajkova P, Zemanova B, 2008. Lutra lutra. In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008, Retrieved 21 March 2009.Search in Google Scholar

[8] Kruuk H, Moorhouse A, Conroy J W, Durbin L, Freares S. An estimate of numbers and habitat preferences of otters Lutra lutra in Shetland, U.K. Biological Conservation. 1989, 49, 241-254.Search in Google Scholar

[9] Reuther C. Development in weight and length of cubs of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin. 1999, 16, 1, 11-25.Search in Google Scholar

[10] Kranz A.. On the ecology of otters in central Europe. Doctoral thesis. 1995, University of Agriculture, Vienna.Search in Google Scholar

[11] Green J, Green, R. and Jefferies, D. J. A radio-tracking survey of otters Lutra lutraon a Perthshire river system. Lutra. 1984, 27, 85-145.Search in Google Scholar

[12] Spiridonov G, Spassov N. The otter (Lutra lutra L., 1758) in Bulgaria, its statе and conservation. - Historia naturalis bulgarica. 1989, 1, 57-63.Search in Google Scholar

[13] Spiridonov G, Mileva L. The status of otter (Lutra lutra) in Bulgaria. Seminar on the Conservation of the European Otter (Lutra lutra), Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, 7-11 June 1994, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. 1994, 77-80.Search in Google Scholar

[14] Peshev Ts, Peshev D, Popov V. Fauna Bulgarica: Mammalia.Vol. 27. 2004, Marin Drinov Acad. Publ.Search in Google Scholar

[15] Georgiev D,. Diet of the Otter Lutra lutra in Different Habitats of South-Eastern Bulgaria. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 2006, 23, 1, 4 – 10.Search in Google Scholar

[16] Georgiev D. The fish species participation in otter’s (Lutra lutra) diet in Maritza river, West of Plovdiv town (Southern Bulgaria). Animalia. 2006, 42, 153–159.Search in Google Scholar

[17] Georgiev D, Stoicheva SFreshwater crabs preyed on by the Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra in a river habitat of southern Bulgaria. Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2006, 17, 2, 129-135.Search in Google Scholar

[18]Georgiev D, Stoycheva S. Habitats, Distribution and Population Density Otter Survey in the Western Rhodopes Mountains (Southern Bulgaria) IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 2006, 23, 1, 35 – 43.Search in Google Scholar

[19] Georgiev D. Study on the Home Range of the Resident Female Otter (Lutra lutra), (Carnivora, Mammalia) in South-East Bulgaria. Acta zool. bulg., 2007, 59, 2, 165-172.Search in Google Scholar

[20] Georgiev D. Otter (Lutra lutra L.) Mortalities in southern Bulgaria: a case study. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 2007, 24, 1.Search in Google Scholar

[21] Georgiev D. Size of Marsh frogs in the diet of Eurasian otter in southern Bulgaria. Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2008, 19, 1, 55-59Search in Google Scholar

[22] Georgiev D. Ecological monitoring study of the otter (Lutra lutra L.) in the catchments of Tundzha and Maritsa Rivers. PhD Thesis, University of Plovdiv, Faculty of Biology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Conservation. 2008, 200 p.Search in Google Scholar

[23] Georgiev D. Eurasian Otters In Micro Dams Of Southern Bulgaria: Where To Place The Monitoring Zones? IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 2009, 26 (1) 5 – 9.Search in Google Scholar

[24] Dimitrova R, Georgiev D. The Otter (Lutra lutra L.) Signs and the Banks Tree Cover: A Survey in Central and Eastern Bulgaria. Ecologica Balkanica, 2012, 4, 2, 1-4.Search in Google Scholar

[25] Georgiev D. Materials on the diet of the Otter (Lutra lutra L.) in the West Rhodopes Mountain, South Bulgaria. Ecologica Balkanica. 2013, 5, 1, 137-139.Search in Google Scholar

[26] Wood R, Gerald L. The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. 1983, Sterling Pub Co Inc.Search in Google Scholar

[27] Manson CF, Macdonalds SM. Otters: Ecology and Conservation. 1986, Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

[28] Chanin P. Monitoring the Otter. 2010, Conserving Natura 2000 Rivers, English Nature.Search in Google Scholar

[29] Pagett M. What Shat That?: A Pocket Guide to Poop Identity. 2007.Search in Google Scholar

[30] Brown RW, Lawrence MJ, Pope J. Animals. Tracks & Signs. 1984. Hamlyn. p. 225.Search in Google Scholar

[31] Erlinge S. Food habits of the otter (Lutra lutra L) and the mink (Mustela visonSchreber) in a trout water in southern Sweden. Oikos. 1969, 20, 1-7.10.2307/3543739Open DOISearch in Google Scholar

[32] de Silva P. Food and feeding habits of the Eurasian Otter lutra lutra L. (Carnivora, Mustelidae) in Sri Lanka. Journal of South Asian Natural History. 1996, 2, 1, 81-90.Search in Google Scholar

[33] de Silva P. Seasonal variation of the food and feeding habits of the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra L. (Carnivora, Mustelidae) in Sri Lanka. Journal of South Asian Natural History. 1997, 2, 2, 205-216.Search in Google Scholar

[34] Kruuk H, Kanchanasaka B, O'Sullivian, S Wanghongsa S. Niche separation in three sympatric otters Lutra perspicillata, Lutra lutra and Aonyx cinerea in Huai Kha Khaeng, Thailand. Biological Conservation. 1944, 69: 115-210.Search in Google Scholar

[35] Stojanov A. Order anurans. In: Biserkov V. (Editor). A field guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Bulgaria. Sofia. Green Balkans. 2007, 39-62.Search in Google Scholar

[36] Stojanov A, Tzankov N, Naumov B. Die Amphibien und Reptilien Bulgariens. 2011, Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo