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Volume 77—1997

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Additional Observations of the Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) and the River Otter (Lutra canadensis) in Southeastern Oklahoma

Jenni White
Biology Department, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK 73034
[Present address: 1805 Sheffield Road, OKC, 73120]

Julianne Hoagland
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma City, OK 73105


A two-year sign survey to determine river otter (Lutra canadensis) distribution and relative abundance within southeastern Oklahoma was initiated in 1993 (1). During this study, field sign of river otter and other mammals were identified within the river basins of the Little River, the Poteau River, and the San Bois Creek, by using Peterson's Field Guide To Animal Tracks (2).

According to Caire (3), river otter are distributed throughout far southeastern Oklahoma excepting Pushmataha, Choctaw, and Bryan Counties. Two identifications of river otter tracks were made in Pushmataha County during the 1993-1994 survey period: east of Nashoba (NW/4, S20, T1S, R21E) and near Cloudy (NW/4, S14, T3S, R19E). Additionally, Bruce Leland, District Supervisor of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control (ADC), reported two incidental river otter deaths during beaver control activities in the eastern half of Pushmataha County during the surveyed period (pers. comm.): one near Kiamichi in 1993 and one near Honobia in 1994. No further reports of river otter in this county exist with the ODWC.

Previous reports of the long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) in Oklahoma are confined to Texas, Cleveland, and Payne Counties (3). Additional observations do not exist within the ODWC. Eleven weasel tracks were identified in this study over 1993 and 1994, within Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, and Pushmataha Counties; locations are given in Table 1.


We thank the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sigma Xi and Sigma Delta Epsilon for their financial support. We also thank Dr. David Bass and the many University of Central Oklahoma biology students who assisted with field work.


1.   Shackelford, J., Habitat and Relative Abundance of River Otter, Lutra canadensis, in Three Drainage Basins of Southeastern Oklahoma. M.S. Thesis, University of Central Oklahoma Edmond, OK (1995) 98 pp.

2.   Murie, O.J., Petersons Field Guide to Animal Tracks. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston (1982) 375 pp.

3.   Caire, W., Tyler, J.D., Glass, B.P., and Mares, M.A., Mammals of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK (1989) 567 pp.

Received: 1997 Mar 27; Accepted: 1997 Oct 09

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