The young are weaned at about 3 months old and begin to leave their mother at 6 months old. Some tribes consider the otter to be a lucky animal and a symbol of "loyalty and honesty." These analyses suggest they diverged in the Miocene epoch 23.03 to 5.33 million years ago (Mya), which is "much earlier" than indicated in the fossil record. Swimming Abilities.  Slow-moving species include suckers (Catostomidae), catfish, sunfish and bass (Centrarchidae), daces, carp, and shiners (Cyprinidae). These include mudminnows (Umbra limi) and sculpins (Cottus spp.). , North American river otters typically breed from December to April. Find Stunning Baby River Otter Isolated On stock images in HD and millions of other royalty-free stock photos, illustrations and vectors in the Shutterstock collection. Get your Adventure Kit! Copulation is vigorous, and is interrupted by periods of rest. Environmental disasters, such as oil spills, may increase levels of blood haptoglobin and interleukin-6 immunoreactive protein, but decrease body mass. , 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. Male North American river otters disperse from such family groups more often than females.  Likewise, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a preferred fish species for the North American river otter in other regions of Colorado.  In Idaho, juvenile, yearling, and adult males averaged 8, 11, and 17% heavier, respectively, than females of the same age. It establishes a burrow close to the water's edge in river, lake, swamp, coastal shoreline, tidal flat, or estuary ecosystems. Preceding the settlement of North America by Europeans, North American river otters were prevalent among aquatic habitats throughout most of the continent. Copulation lasts from 16 to 73 minutes and may occur in water or on land. 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. , During the winter and spring, when the water levels were higher, North American river otters had a greater tendency to prey upon crayfish (73% of scats had crayfish remains) rather than fish. The species is widely distributed throughout its range.  Its vibrissae (whiskers) are long and thick, enhancing sensory perception underwater and on land. The otter is the largest member of the weasel family. ), shiners (Notropis and Richardsonius spp. River otters can dive to a depth of 60 feet.  When left unchecked, though, otter depredations can be quite significant under certain circumstances (e.g. These qualities give the North American river otter a streamlined profile in water, but reduce agility on land. See more ideas about otters, otter love, river otter. Fur of senescent river otters may become white-tipped, and rare albinos may occur. The use of den and resting sites is chiefly opportunistic, although locations that provide protection and seclusion are preferred. A North American river otter's main requirements are a steady food supply and easy access to a body of water. Likewise, the potential predatory impact of otters may be considerable whenever fish are physically confined (most commonly in smaller ponds offering sparse cover or other escape options).  They have long bodies, and long whiskers that are used to detect prey in dark waters. As the front feet make contact with the ground, the back feet are lifted and land where the front paws first contacted the ground, producing a pattern of tracks in pairs typical of most mustelids. However, playful behavior was found in only 6% of 294 observations in a study in Idaho, and was limited mostly to immature otters.. When a copious supply of food dwindles or other prey becomes available, North American otters either transfer to a new location or convert their dietary choices to the most adequate prey. The kits open their eyes after 30–38 days.  About one-third of the animal's total length consists of a long, tapered tail. By the early 1900s, North American river otter populations had declined throughout large portions of their historic range in North America. Males weigh up to 90 lbs. More photos: River Otter Photos on the Wildlife Web, Animal silhouettes available to purchase », Home | Fish are the primary component of the North American river otter's diet throughout the year. The North American river otter, also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a species of otter. Nov 2, 2016 - Cherokee: ᏥᏯ (tsi-ya). The otters migrated to North America and southwards again across the Panamanian Land Bridge, which formed 3 Mya. 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. River Otters are found along rivers, streams, and lakes and also in River Otters are carnivorous (they eat meat).  It differs from the European otter by its longer neck, narrower visage, the smaller space between the ears and its shorter tail. River Otters, Sea Otters, Giant Otters & Even Cute Baby Otters! The mean tracheal length of the North American river otter is 15.3 cm (6.0 in), or 23.2% of the body length. ), chubs (Semotilus spp.  During winter, the North American river otters heavily use openings in the ice, and may excavate passages in beaver dams for accessing open water. Foot falls during walking and running follow the sequence of left limb, right limb, right limb, left limb. , The North American river otter is considered a species of least concern according to the IUCN Red List, as it is not currently declining at a rate sufficient for a threat category.  Most aquatic invertebrates preyed upon by the otters are from the families Odonata (dragonfly nymphs), Plecoptera (stonefly nymphs), and Coleoptera (adult beetles). and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. These otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing their long bodies. In many places, the populations have re-established themselves because of conservation initiatives.  A study conducted on North American river otters in a southwestern Arkansas swamp identified a correlation between crayfish consumption, fish consumption, and water levels. This makes up for its lack of blubber in the cold Pacific water.   Large male North American river otters can exceed a weight of 15 kilograms (33 lb). estuaries, coastal bogs, and large marine waterways such as Puget Sound  The North American river otter's nostrils and ears close during submersion, keeping water from entering them.  However, river otters will prey on trout, pike, walleye (Sander vitreus vitreus), salmon (Oncorhynchus spp. North American river otters also currently inhabit coastal regions throughout the United States and Canada. Annual harvest numbers of North American river otters are similar for Canada and the United States, with most pelts being used in the garment industry. They host numerous endoparasites, such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, the sporozoan Isopora, and acanthocephalans. , Adult North American river otters are capable of consuming 1 to 1.5 kilograms (2.2 to 3.3 lb) of fish per day. Most mustelids, including otters, have specialized teeth, including sharp canines and carnassials that inflict lethal bites to prey. Chasing is also a common game. ), and squawfishes (Ptychocheilus spp. Eyes are small and placed anteriorly. , The North American river otter was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777. Therefore, fish are more vulnerable to being preyed upon by otters because the crayfish have become more difficult to obtain. 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. These groups of mammals are known as Mustelids. , Historical records indicate North American river otters were once populous throughout most major drainages in the continental United States and Canada prior to European settlement. Most baby otters are fishing on their own by about 4 months, but they will stay with mom for at least a year. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The vulnerability and seasonal availability of prey animals mainly governs its food habits and prey choices.  North American river otters characteristically approach within a few feet of a boat or a person on shore because they're near-sighted, a consequence of vision adapted for underwater sight. Encounters between North American river otters and beavers are not necessarily hostile. A wet otter sits on a rock to dry in the sun The North American river otter, also known as the Northern river otter, is a widely distributed mammal that inhabits waterways across North America. Similarly, many perceived threats to North American river otters, such as pollution and habitat alterations, have not been rigorously evaluated. Crustaceans may even be consumed more than fish. Little effort has gone into assessing the threat of disease to wild North American river otter populations, so it is poorly understood and documented. Size: 2 to 6 feet long. Giant otters grow to as long as 6 … In the late 1970s, annual harvest in North America reached approximately 50,000 pelts, for a value of US$3 million. ); darters (Etheostoma spp. There are 13 species of otter around the world and many of them are endangered. Additional premolars may be present. Did You Know? When at play or traveling, they sometimes give off low, purring grunts. Male North American river otters do not seem to be territorial, and newly dispersing males may join established male groups.  Crustaceans (crayfish), where regionally available, are the second-most important prey for otters.  They can grow to be more than a meter long, from head to tail, and weight up to 14 kg. Females give birth, nurse, and care for their young in a den near the water. ); Cyprinidae, made up of carp (Cyprinus spp. River Otters An entrance, which may be under water or above ground, leads to a nest chamber lined with leaves, grass, moss, bark, and hair.  Males are, on average, 5% larger than females. The throat, chin, and lips are grayer than the rest of the body. 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) . Since their reintroduction to Kentucky in the early 90s, they have recovered to the point that a trapping season was started in 2006, and the species is now found in all major waterways. This entry was posted in Animal Photos, Baby Animals, Zoos and Aquariums and tagged Baby Animals, north american river otter, oakland zoo, otters by admin. Otters like to hold hands. It is found throughout North America, inhabiting inland waterways and coastal areas in Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic states, and the Gulf of Mexico. The charismatic otter, a member of the weasel family, is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Otters love fish. On occasion, groups of unrelated juveniles are observed. In Idaho and Massachusetts, ecological elements preferred for latrine sites include large conifers, points of land, beaver bank dens and lodges, isthmuses, mouths of permanent streams, or any object that protrudes from the water. A shorter trachea may improve air exchange and increase lung ventilation in diving mammals.. Where they live: In addition, riverine habitats in interior regions supported smaller, but practical, otter populations. How to Participate | Dec 7, 2016 - Explore Julie Light-Gregory's board "River Otter" on Pinterest. Oct 26, 2018 - Explore Lori Lee Rudy's board "River Otter", followed by 135 people on Pinterest. Although the distribution became reduced in some regions of southern Canada, the only province-wide extirpation occurred on Prince Edward Island.  Each otter pup weighs approximately five ounces. , North American river otters do not dramatically reduce prey populations in the wild, generally speaking. , Although they consume birds, North American river otters do not feed on bird eggs.  The North American river otters favor bog lakes with banked shores containing semiaquatic mammal burrows and lakes with beaver lodges. In Alaska, the two species living in marine environments indicate niche separation through resource partitioning, probably related to the swimming abilities of these mustelids. River otters can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes while under water. invertebrates.  In 2010, the Colorado Department of Wildlife reported the species, reintroduced in the 1980s, was "thriving" and recommended its protection status be reconsidered.  Other prey consumed by North American river otters includes fruits, reptiles, amphibians, birds (most especially moulting ducks which render the birds flightless and thus makes them easier to capture), aquatic insects, small mammals, and mollusks. , The right lung of the North American river otter is larger than the left, having four lobes compared with two for the left. Daily movements of family groups averaged 4.7, 4.4, and 2.4 km (2.9, 2.7, and 1.5 mi) in spring, summer, and winter, respectively. Otter Central – Leading Source for Otter Videos, Otter Pictures, Otter Facts & More Reduced lobulation of the lungs is presumed to be adaptive for underwater swimming. , In a new classification, the species is called Lontra canadensis, where the genus Lontra includes all the New World river otters. Family groups may include helpers, which can be made up of unrelated adults, yearlings, or juveniles. North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) images and facts - this gallery provides stock photos of the North American river otter in a variety of different environments and situations. A highly active predator, the North American river otter has adapted to hunting in water, and eats aquatic and semiaquatic animals. It is made up of a waterproof top layer and a short underlayer, which can contain as many as one million hairs per square inch. , On land, the North American river otter can walk, run, bound, or slide. See more ideas about river otter, otters, otter love.  Scent marking is imperative for intergroup communication.  North American river otter harvests correlate positively with the North American beaver harvests and with the average beaver pelt price from the preceding year. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds.  They are now absent or rare in Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Sliding occurs mostly on even surfaces of snow or ice, but can also occur on grassy slopes and muddy banks. Baby sea otters are born blind. As such, careful consideration of any threatened, endangered, or fish species of special interest is warranted prior to reintroduction of otters to a watershed. See more ideas about otters, otter love, baby otters. Reintroduction of river otters may present a problem in that it may contaminate the genetic structure of the native population.  Bottom-dwelling species, which have the tendency to remain immobile until a predator is very close, are susceptible to North American river otters. , Communication among North American river otters is accomplished mainly by olfactory and auditory signals. Otters are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. They may migrate as a result of food shortages or environmental conditions, but they do not migrate annually.  North American river otters only settle in areas that consist of vegetation, rock piles, and sufficient coverage. apparently limited to large rivers, such as the Columbia, Yakima, and , The North American river otter has few natural predators when in water. Baby otters are called pups.  The species epithet canadensis means "of Canada". , The diet of the North American river otter can be deduced by analyzing either stool obtained in the field, or gut contents removed from trapped otters. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. North America's largest North American river otter populations were found in areas with an abundance and diversity of aquatic habitats, such as coastal marshes, the Great Lakes region, and glaciated areas of New England. For instance, an Alberta, Canada study involved the collection and analysis of 1,191 samples of North American river otter scats collected during each season. , 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. Sea otters can form close attachment with humans and cannot be left alone at all. North American river otters also inhabit the forested regions of the Pacific coast in North America. The otter is the largest member of the weasel family.  Fish species frequently found in the diets of the North American river otters include: Catostomidae, which consists of suckers (Catostomus spp.) They eat a variety of animals, including Live fish are typically eaten from the head. Resolution of such conflicts will usually require removal and/or relocation of nuisance otters. When the mothers have established their domains, they give birth to several kits. Watch as Tilly, Molalla's mom, gives swimming lessons to her new baby river otter North American river otters are inadvertently harvested by traps set for North American beavers, and therefore management plans should consider both species simultaneously.  In the wild, they normally live about 8 to 9 years, but are capable of living up to 13 years of age. , The fur of the species is short (guard hairs average 23.8 mm (0.94 in)), with a density of about 57,800 hairs/cm2 (373,000 hairs/in2) in the midback section. Weaning occurs at 12 weeks, and females provide solid food for their progeny until 37–38 weeks have transpired. They’ve been around for more than 5 million years. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. , North American river otters swim by quadrupedal paddling, forelimb paddling, alternate hind-limb paddling, simultaneous hind-limb paddling, or body and tail dorsoventral undulation.  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. Biodiversity Modules | Otters always wash themselves after every meal.  Trappers in Alberta, Canada commonly assert North American river otters are major predators of North American beavers. River otters can dive to a depth of 60 feet. Acid drainage from coal mines is a persistent water quality issue in some areas, as it eliminates otter prey.  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. 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. They come in many sizes.  The number of corpora lutea increases directly with age.  Otters are known to take larger fish on land to eat, whereas smaller fish are consumed in the water. Starvation may occur due to excessive tooth damage. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). , Like other otters, the North American river otter lives in a holt, or den, constructed in the burrows of other animals, or in natural hollows, such as under a log or in river banks. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish. The tail, which is stout and larger in surface area than the limbs, is used for stability while swimming and for short bursts of rapid propulsion. Reintroduction projects have expanded their distribution in recent years, especially in the Midwestern United States. fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, water insects, snails, worms, Northern River Otter - Animal Diversity Web.  Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction currently, but may become so unless trade is closely controlled. However, North American river otters remain rare or absent in the southwestern United States. The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish.  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.  However, large populations never occurred in areas of Southern California such as the chaparral and oak woodlands and Mojave Desert seasonal waterway regions, or in the xeric shrubland regions in New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Colorado. Facts About River Otter River otters are one among the most intelligent species in the world.  Susceptibility of these species is greatest during the summer (when waterfowl broods are vulnerable) and autumn. Declines in the richness and diversity of prey species may explain these changes. This dilemma prevents, and consequently inhibits, recolonization or growth of North American river otter populations. , The North American river otter is a stocky animal of 5 to 14 kilograms (11 to 31 lb), with short legs, a muscular neck (no smaller than the head) and an elongated body that is broadest at the hips. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Find out more about this beautiful mammal. The North American river otter scent-marks with feces, urine, and possibly anal sac secretions. Both males and family groups travel drastically less during winter. For example, a study conducted in a central California marshland indicated crayfish formed nearly 100% of the river otter's diet at certain times of the year. 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.  At birth, the North American river otters are fully furred, blind, and toothless. Since 1976, over 4,000 otters have been reintroduced in 21 U.S. states.  Females may caterwaul during or shortly after mating. A sub-species of otter, river otters are semi- aquatic mammals that have streamlined and serpentine bodies, with a thick and lustrous coat. , Aquatic life ties North American river otters almost exclusively to permanent watersheds. Because the North American river otters delay implantation for at least eight months, the interval between copulation and parturition can reach 10–12 months.  Every study done on the food habits of the North American river otter has identified varying fish species as being the primary component of its diet.  Remains of the much larger North American beaver have been found in North American river otter scat in some regions, although most otter dietary studies in areas where otters and beaver are sympatric do not show them to be regular predators of beavers (despite the claims of fur-trappers that otters frequently hunt beavers) and perhaps only young beaver kits may be attacked.  Tail lengths range from 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 20 in). The rhinarium is bare, with an obtuse, triangular projection. , The North American river otter is sexually dimorphic. , The mothers raise their young without aid from adult males. Home ranges of males are larger than those of females, and both sexes exhibit intra- and intersexual overlap of their domains. It must remain in motion to maintain its position at the surface. , The North American river otter is physically well-equipped for aquatic life. Common Names: North American river otter, northern river otter, common otter; Basic Animal Group: Mammal; Size: 26-42 inches plus a 12-20 inch tail; Weight: 11-31 pounds; Lifespan: 8-9 years; Diet: Carnivore; Habitat: Watersheds of North America; Population: Abundant; Conservation Status: Least …  However, when water levels are lower, crayfish will seek out shelter while fish become more highly concentrated and susceptible to predation. A clinal reduction in size may exist from north to south along the Pacific coast, but not from east to west. Moreover, a western Oregon study revealed fish remains were present in 80% of the 103 digestive tracts examined. in hatcheries or other fish culture facilities). In Maine, use of watersheds by North American river otters is negatively associated with the proportion of mixed hardwood-softwood stands in forested areas adjacent to waterways. Ectoparasites include ticks, sucking lice(Latagophthirus rauschi), and fleas (Oropsylla arctomys). River otters are not territorial, but individual North American river otters of different groups portray mutual avoidance. , 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. 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