Footholds a Humane Way to Capture Otters

In the Spring, 1999 issue of the Wildlife Society Bulletin, there is an article entitled "Live Trapping River Otters" As I have argued in past e-zines, this study compared the injury scores between box trapping otters versus catching them in footholds. Turns out that the scientists discovered that using the footholds caused less long term damage to the otters than the Hancock trap. It appeared that the otters in fighting the hancock trap broke their teeth, an event which causes permanent debilitation. Since the otters rely on teeth to help them capture and kill prey, this injury is quite damaging. The foothold used in the study was a number 11 Sleepy Creek which is a double jawed, double long spring leghold.

Otter Reintroduction Success in Ohio

We are in the process of delisting the river otter in Ohio - reintroduction started in 1986 with a release of 123 otters, and we now have over 2,000 otters in the state. As we go and talk to various groups regarding the successful of this media darling, one of the major points we make is that the most important tool used in the reintroduction program was the foothold trap. All 123 otters which were released in Ohio were caught with footholds and were released unharmed in Ohio a couple days later. We are also in the midst of a survival & reproduction study on otters, and as you may expect, we catch the otters in foothold traps, drug 'em, implant a radio in their body cavity, and release them unharmed about 4 hours later. Of the 7 otters we caught, all but 1 (hit by car 3 weeks after catch) are still alive and doing great. Just thought this might be another angle some would want to pursue. You may also want to add that a total of 19 states have otter reintroduction programs and over 5,000 otters which were used in the programs were all caught in foothold traps.

Dave Sherman Wildlife Biologist Crane Creek Research Station
13229 West S.R. 2
Oak Harbor, OH 43449
(419)898-0960 X24 (PHONE)
(419)898-4017 (FAX)


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Stephen Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Professional. He is a nationally known writer including having been an assistant editor for Wildlife Control Technology magazine, author of numerous ADC articles as well as The Wildlife Removal Handbook rev.ed and the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook rev. ed. Mr. Vantassel is also a vocal critic of the growing animal rights movement. He has exposed the fallacies and deceptions of the animal rights protest industry through debate, lecture and publication.


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