About Us | [15] The oldest fossil record of an Old World river otter comes from the late Pliocene epoch (3.6 to 1.8 Mya). [36] A study conducted on captive otters revealed they preferred larger fish, ranging from 15 to 17 centimeters (5.9 to 6.7 in), more than smaller fish, ranging from 8 to 10 centimeters (3.1 to 3.9 in), and they had difficulty catching fish species less than 10 centimeters (3.9 in) or larger than 17 centimeters (6.7 in). How to Participate | Did You Know? Otters are part of the Mustelid family of animals which also includes badgers, pine martens and weasels. In Alaska, the two species living in marine environments indicate niche separation through resource partitioning, probably related to the swimming abilities of these mustelids. [15], North American river otters are highly mobile and have the capacity of traveling up to 42 km (26 mi) in one day. Northern River Otter - Animal Diversity Web. River otters spend two-thirds of the time on land. While current harvest strategies do not pose a threat to maintaining otter populations, harvest may limit expansion of otter populations in some areas. [15] Its vibrissae (whiskers) are long and thick, enhancing sensory perception underwater and on land. [22] Den sites include burrows dug by woodchucks (Marmota monax), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), nutria (Myocastor coypus), or beaver and muskrat lodges. [1] The North American river otter existed on all parts of the Pacific Coast, including the seashore and inland streams and lakes. years old. [52] However, when water levels are lower, crayfish will seek out shelter while fish become more highly concentrated and susceptible to predation. The pelage has a high luster and varies from light brown to black. [29] In Georgia, crayfish accounted for two-thirds of the prey in the summer diet, and their remnants were present in 98% of the summer spraint. Copulation is vigorous, and is interrupted by periods of rest. [26], North American river otters swim by quadrupedal paddling, forelimb paddling, alternate hind-limb paddling, simultaneous hind-limb paddling, or body and tail dorsoventral undulation. However, North American river otters remain rare or absent in the southwestern United States. While swimming at the surface, the dorsal portion of the North American river otter's head, including nostrils, ears, and eyes, is exposed above water. North American river otters rely upon play to learn survival skills such as fighting and hunting. Home ranges of North American river otters increase in size on oiled areas compared to unoiled areas, and individual otters also modify their habitat use. Even in larger bodies of water, they may take disproportional advantage of any seasonal concentrations of fish when and where only very limited areas of suitable spawning, low-flow, or over-wintering habitat may exist. However, it is positively associated with the number of beaver flowages, watershed length, and average shoreline diversity. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) became one of the major animals hunted and trapped for fur in North America after European contact. [1] North American river otter harvests correlate positively with the North American beaver harvests and with the average beaver pelt price from the preceding year. The European Otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the Eurasian otter, Eurasian river otter, and common otter, is a Wet otter. [22], Although commonly called a "river otter", the North American river otter is found in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, both freshwater and coastal marine, including lakes, rivers, inland wetlands, coastal shorelines, marshes, and estuaries. [32][49] Susceptibility of these species is greatest during the summer (when waterfowl broods are vulnerable) and autumn. The River Otter is built for swimming - they have a streamlined body, short legs with webbed feet, dense fur that keeps them warm, a tapered tail, [15], On land, the North American river otter can walk, run, bound, or slide. [1], Habitat degradation and pollution are major threats to their conservation; North American river otters are highly sensitive to pollution[citation needed] and readily accumulate high levels of mercury, organochloride compounds, and other chemical elements. In the wild River Otters live less than 10 years. [15] In the wild, they normally live about 8 to 9 years,[22] but are capable of living up to 13 years of age. Weaning occurs at 12 weeks, and females provide solid food for their progeny until 37–38 weeks have transpired. [34] A 1994 river otter study reported findings of beaver remains in 27 of 1,191 scats analyzed. In the central basin, they are The young are weaned at about 3 months old and begin to leave their mother at 6 months old. [9] The mammal was identified as a species of otter and has a variety of common names, including North American river otter, northern river otter, common otter and, simply, river otter. Water pollution and other diminution of aquatic and wetland habitats may limit distribution and pose long-term threats if the enforcement of water quality standards is not upheld. Biodiversity Modules | Though it is the largest, it isn’t the heaviest. The European or Eurasian otter is often referred to as the common otter. Reduced lobulation of the lungs is presumed to be adaptive for underwater swimming. [15], CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Expert says otter attacks are rare after St. Pete dog killed", "Dog attacked by otters in Lakewood, homeowners say", "7 Surprising Facts About the Giant River Otter", "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", 10.1644/1545-1410(2002)712<0001:LM>2.0.CO;2, "North American River Otter – National Wildlife Federation", "Basic Facts About North American River Otters", "Distribution and abundance of river otter in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota", "Food habits of the river otter in Suisun Marsh, Central California", "Feeding relationships of river otters in northeastern Pennsylvania", Food habits of the North American river otter (, "Social Networks and the Formation and Maintenance of River Otter Groups", "Art Lander's Outdoors: Once endangered river otters now likely to be found in Kentucky for generations", Colorado Otters May No Longer Need Protection, "Final report of the North American river otter research project on the Upper Colorado River Basin in and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado", https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Lontra_canadensis/, COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Grizzly Bear, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=North_American_river_otter&oldid=999265721, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2009, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 08:49. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). They also have webbed feet, … By the early 1900s, North American river otter populations had declined throughout large portions of their historic range in North America. Nov 2, 2016 - Cherokee: ᏥᏯ (tsi-ya). The female otters do not dig their own dens; instead, they rely on other animals, such as beavers, to provide suitable environments to raise their offspring. In Mexico, the North American river otters lived in the Rio Grande and Colorado River Deltas. Nov 28, 2018 - Explore Margaret Vockrodt's board "baby otters", followed by 402 people on Pinterest. [54] Trappers in Alberta, Canada commonly assert North American river otters are major predators of North American beavers. When river otters are born, they don't know how to swim -- so their mothers teach them. Accidental deaths may be the result of ice flows or shifting rocks. [15], North American river otters are renowned for their sense of play. The maximum weight and length of both sexes are attained at three to four years of age. Otter babies are called pups. Sliding across snow and ice is a rapid and efficient means of travel, and otters traveling over mountain passes, between drainages, or descending from mountain lakes often slide continuously for several hundred meters. [5][6][7], The range of the North American river otter has been significantly reduced by habitat loss, beginning with the European colonization of North America. Crustaceans may even be consumed more than fish. ), chubs (Semotilus spp. The North American river otter, also known as the Northern river otter, is a widely distributed mammal that inhabits waterways across North America. ); and perches (Perca spp.). Although other prey species are of temporary significance to the North American river otter, the deciding factor whether the North American river otter can establish itself as a permanent resident of one location is the year-round availability of fish. North American river otters are active year-round, and are most active at night and during crepuscular hours. The otters migrated to North America and southwards again across the Panamanian Land Bridge, which formed 3 Mya. [15] On land or ice, the North American river otter is considerably more vulnerable. This makes up for its lack of blubber in the cold Pacific water. ); darters (Etheostoma spp. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. The North American river otter scent-marks with feces, urine, and possibly anal sac secretions. All Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island and 29 U.S. states have viable populations that sustain annual harvests. [25][33], Amphibians and reptiles are more obtainable by the North American river otter during the spring and summer as a result of breeding activity, appropriate temperatures, and water supply for the prey. [19] At birth, the North American river otters are fully furred, blind, and toothless. [15] They have long bodies, and long whiskers that are used to detect prey in dark waters. [32] The North American river otters have also been known to catch and consume moulting American wigeon (Mareca americana) and green-winged teal (Anas crecca). From mid-winter through the breeding season, adult females move and den alone. Reintroduction projects have been particularly valuable in restoring populations in many areas of the United States. A sea otter’s pelt is the thickest of any mammal. [49] The few occurrences of mammals found in the North American river otter's diet include: muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus); meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus); eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus); and snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus). Otters come together during the mating season in late winter or early spring. [15], North American river otters can produce a snarling growl or hissing bark when bothered, and a shrill whistle when in pain. Terrestrial predators include the bobcat (Lynx rufus), mountain lion (Puma concolor), coyote (Canis latrans), domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), wolf (Canis lupus), black bear (Ursus americanus) and (in young or small North American river otters) red fox (Vulpes vulpes) . River otters can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes underwater. See more ideas about river otter, otters, sea otter. [25], The North American river otter is more social than most mustelids. The species name was Lutra canadensis. Otter Central – Leading Source for Otter Videos, Otter Pictures, Otter Facts & More [25] Other fish an integral part of the North American river otters' diets are those that are often plentiful and found in large schools: sunfish (Lepomis spp. Both males and family groups travel drastically less during winter. [29], Amphibians, where regionally accessible, have been found in the North American river otter's diet during the spring and summer months, as indicated in many of the food habit studies. The species is widely distributed throughout its range. – http://bit.ly/ADVENTUREKIT Order Coyote's NEW book - http://bit.ly/KINGOFSTING Please SUBSCRIBE NOW! More photos: River Otter Photos on the Wildlife Web, Animal silhouettes available to purchase », Home | Otters can dive 300 feet down in water while looking for food. In the late 1970s, annual harvest in North America reached approximately 50,000 pelts, for a value of US$3 million. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Starvation may occur due to excessive tooth damage. The North American river otter is found throughout North America, inhabiting inland waterways and coastal areas in Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic states, and the Gulf of Mexico. These qualities give the North American river otter a streamlined profile in water, but reduce agility on land. Since 1976, over 4,000 otters have been reintroduced in 21 U.S. states. When at play or traveling, they sometimes give off low, purring grunts. [15], Communication among North American river otters is accomplished mainly by olfactory and auditory signals. River otters spend two-thirds of the time on land. When the mothers have established their domains, they give birth to several kits. [25] An adult North American river otter has a total of 36 teeth. and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 14 thoughts on “ Baby River Otters at Oakland Zoo ” Similarly, many perceived threats to North American river otters, such as pollution and habitat alterations, have not been rigorously evaluated. The North American river otters may compete with the American mink (Mustela vison) for resources. Rivers otters are mostly solitary (live alone), except for females with their young. [49] Likewise, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a preferred fish species for the North American river otter in other regions of Colorado. fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, water insects, snails, worms, [15] The North American river otters favor bog lakes with banked shores containing semiaquatic mammal burrows and lakes with beaver lodges. [28] This availability is influenced by the following factors: detectability and mobility of the prey, habitat availability for the various prey species, environmental factors, such as water depth and temperature, and seasonal changes in prey supply and distribution in correspondence with otter foraging habitat. [46] In late 2012, a river otter nicknamed Sutro Sam took up residence around the former site of the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, the first river otter sighting in that city in more than half a century. Musk from the scent glands may also be secreted when otters are frightened or angry. During the dry season, they will recede from the marshland and move to permanent ponds, where water is available and food is in greater supply. In freshwater systems, groups occur most often in autumn and during early winter. Otters like to hold hands. 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