Often seen frolicking on both land and in the water, the otter seems to make having fun an important part of life. The North American River Otter has a long, slender body, which is streamlined for swimming. North American river otters are known for their playful swimming, but they are also an important species for helping scientists understand the health of river systems. Instances of river otters eating small mammals and occasionally birds have been reported as well. The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish. Anyone can earn River otters are prey for bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. The playful North American river otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living. Did you know… We have over 220 college They are very playful in behavior, both on land and in the water. Predators of the North American River Otter. Soon the babies are just as at home in the water as the adults. Physical characteristics help otters with their outstanding swimming abilities. Natural predators that are fast enough to prey upon otter include lynx, mountain lion, wolverine, wolves, birds of prey, and alligators. Re: Lontra canadensis (North American River Otter) Non-Detriment Finding for Canada Summary of Finding: Export of legally obtained wild-harvested river otter is considered non-detrimental. 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Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review page to learn more. Fun Facts for Kids North American otters are playful animals, and indulge in water play, mud/snow sliding, and burrowing through snow. Create your account, Already registered? Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. River otters become very aggressive towards humans when they become sexually mature. The American mink often kills birds, including larger species like seagulls and cormorants, by drowning. River otters eat a variety of aquatic wildlife, such as fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and reptiles such as turtles. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. Even with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat. Young river otters prove to be the most susceptible to predators. The North American river otter has many natural predators but typically can avoid them by escaping quickly to a burrow or to water. It is a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) occurs in streams, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, and marine coasts. Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world, Inspire a lifelong connection with wildlife and wild places through our children's publications, products, and activities, National Wildlife Federation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The species occurs broadly across much of North America and is considered reasonably secure overall. Running across different types of terrain is no problem for these otters. You can test out of the Select a subject to preview related courses: The North American River Otter is an animal with a very high metabolism, so it must eat quite often. Unlike some other semi-aquatic animals, the North American River Otter is quite good at bounding around on land as well. It is a mustelid. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Occasionally an otter will bring its entire head and neck out of the water to look around, a behavior called “periscoping.” The North American River Otter is quite versatile, making its home in lakes, swamps, ponds and marshes, in addition to rivers. River otters generally live along rivers, as their name implies, but they're also found near streams and lakes.Otters prefer water bordered by woods and with wetlands, such as marshes, nearby. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at one particular species, the North American River Otter. All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. In 4 seconds, you will be redirected to nwfactionfund.org, the site of the National Wildlife Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization. They can stay underwater for as many as eight minutes. Its very long whiskers help with the detection of its prey while underwater. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. A North American River Otter is a tertiary consumer. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. This otter enjoys feasting on a wide variety of different animals, such as fish, insects, turtles, frogs, birds and even eggs. River otters are the largest in the Mustelid family, leaving them with few predators. They also scent mark using scent glands near the base of their tails that produce a strong, musky odor. 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. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. Create an account to start this course today. River otters are the most aquatic members of the weasel family. It is an exceptional swimmer, sleek and aerodynamic in the water, and a carnivorous hunter, eating other animals, such as frogs and fish. However, there is a type of wild animal that fits this description extremely well: the otter. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. As long as there is plenty of food, most any body of water will do for these otters. Coyotes, large raptors and bobcats are just a few animals that hunt otters. Anywhere, any time. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. North American river otters will eat frogs, turtles, snakes, insects, small mammals and birds whenever this type of prey is readily available. River otters are strong, unmatched swimmers in their environments, and on land they can run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. All rights reserved. just create an account. Published 2011-07-22 - Revised 2014-02-17. Read on to learn more. North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. In New York State, trapping of otters for their fur is legal in selected parts of the state. North American River otters may be commonly found throughout much of sub-Arctic Canada, Alaska, and, within the contiguous United States, in the Pacific Northwest and along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. However habitat destruction and water pollution still puts these animals at great risk, especially because they are so specialized. {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | https://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/north-american-river-otter Southern River Otter: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Quiz & Worksheet - North American River Otter, Over 83,000 lessons in all major subjects, {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}}, Eurasian Otter: Habitat, Diet, Lifespan & Facts, Hairy-Nosed Otter: Habitat, Breeding & Population, Spotted-Necked Otter: Habitat, Diet, Lifespan & Facts, Smooth-Coated Otter: Habitat, Adaptations & Facts, African Clawless Otter: Habitat, Population & Lifespan, Asian Small-Clawed Otter: Habitat, Breeding & Adaptations, European Mink: Facts, Habitat, Adaptations & Population, What is a Mongoose? As you may guess from its name, the North American River Otter is a species of otter found in and near waterways of North America. Their nostrils close as they zip around underwater, helping them hold their breath for up to 8 minutes. More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons The most detailed guides for North American River Otter How To are provided in this page. What are some facts about this animal and what makes it unique? It is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds. River otters generally live alone or in small social groups. River otters communicate with whistles, yelps, growls, and screams, as well as touch and body posture. RED LIST status: Least Concern alias: northern river otter, river otter predators: big cats, alligators, coyotes, dogs, wolves threats: pollution, poaching, habitat loss, accidental trapping, road kill size: 100-153 cm (body 66-107 cm; tail 31-46 cm) weight: 8-11 kg The North American river otter is a large otter whose story is a success. When cornered on land, they will fight and scratch. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Three other river otter species: southern river otters, neotropical river otters, and marine otters … It can thrive in warm and cool waters, even in colder high-elevation bodies of water. North American river otters were hunted and trapped extensively for their fur in the 19th and 20th centuries, and are still hunted in some places. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. 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. North American river otter: non-detriment finding. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. They can live eight to nine years in the wild but have lived up to 21 years in captivity. 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Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. They eat the whole gamut of aquatic prey, including fish, frogs, crayfish, salamanders and turtles – not to mention snakes, small birds, mammals, earthworms and insects. The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways of North America. Aquatic Predator Principally an aquatic predator, the river otter often swims with only its nose, eyes, and ears protruding above the surface. North American river otters have long whiskers, which they use to detect prey in dark or cloudy water, and clawed feet for grasping onto slippery prey. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Several groups have been set up to try to help conserve natural … Once the river otter sets foot on land, however, the number of natural predators increases significantly. In the Adirondacks, the otter trapping season is from 1 November to 7 April. North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates. They will sometimes eat plants, and even the occasional small mammal, such as a rabbit. The calls may range from high-pitched chirps, whistles and twitters, to low grunting chuckles and buzzes. Few river otter predators exist in nature. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. North American river otters are playful semi-aquatic mammals endemic to the U.S. and Canada. - Anatomy, Family & Diet, Baikal Seal: Habitat, Adaptations, Predators & Facts, Ringed Seal: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Bloat in Dogs, Biological and Biomedical Its fur is short, thick and water-repellent. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. Speaking of swimming, the North American River Otter is top in its class. Terrestrial predators of otters include black bears and a variety of Feline and Canine species, domestica… Otters live all around the world and all share similar playful life styles and are very successful at swimming, fighting off predators, and controlling populations of specific prey. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. Advantages of Self-Paced Distance Learning, Advantages of Distance Learning Compared to Face-to-Face Learning, Top 50 K-12 School Districts for Teachers in Georgia, Those Winter Sundays: Theme, Tone & Imagery. In its natural range, fish are its primary prey. They are also threatened by habitat loss and pollution that has occurred since European’s colonized North America. Consumes almost anything they catch/encounter Few natural predators, Bobcats, American crocodiles fish frogs turtles Small mammals- muskrat Birds- water fowl Reptiles Fruits Crustaceans courses that prepare you to earn This makes them very popular zoo exhibits. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family.While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. The tail makes up about a third of their total length. River otter is harvested as a furbearer species under the authorization of trapping permits or licenses. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. A member of the weasel family, the North American River Otter has a long body with short but strong legs. Otters have long been viewed as an economically important furbearer. Even with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat. Their flat, streamlined heads and sleek fur make them agile and aerodynamic. North American river otters have long whiskers, which they use to detect prey in dark or cloudy water, and clawed feet for grasping onto slippery prey. study Services. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive. Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education. River otters breed in late winter or early spring. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. North American river otters can close their nostrils to keep water out during long dives. imaginable degree, area of The few natural river otter predators include bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and dogs. They have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat frequently. The North American river otter occurs in much of Canada and the United States, except for portions of the Southwest, and in Mexico in the Rio Grande and Colorado River delta areas. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Let's take a closer look at this playful creature. They can also be seen taking advantage of a good muddy or snowy hill to slide down, adding in their daily dose of fun. The National Wildlife Federation is providing resources to help families and caregivers across the country provide meaningful educational opportunities and safe outdoor experiences for children during these incredibly difficult times. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. What Is the Rest Cure in The Yellow Wallpaper? River otters eat crabs, fish, and small vertebrates. Webbed feet and a very strong tail both propel them quickly and gracefully through the water. The average lifespan of the North American River Otter is about 8-9 years in the wild, although they can live much longer in captivity. They mainly escape predation through their agility in the water and on land, their vigilance, and their ability to fiercely defend themselves and their young. North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. In fact, one of the greatest threats to the North American river otter is human activity, as they are very susceptible to pollution and degradation of their habitat. In certain areas, alligators will nab them as well. Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. Get access risk-free for 30 days, The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a freshwater, semi-aquatic mammal in the Lutrinae sub-family of the Mustelidae family of weasels. A long, strong tail helps propels the otter through the water. Although inferior to the North American river otter in hunting fish, Audubon and Bachman once reported seeing a mink carrying a foot-long trout. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. Adults generally give birth to between one and three pups, which are blind and helpless when born. North American River Otters. Although its name also suggests that it is only a river-dwelling animal, this isn't true. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. On land a river otter can run at speeds of up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) an hour—they can slide even faster. A river otter can grow three to four feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) long including its tail and weigh between 11 and 30 pounds (5 to 14 kilograms). An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). They first learn to swim after about two months. 's' : ''}}. A new study from North Carolina State University detected evidence of otter diseases that may be spread by pets. Many "play" activities serve a purpose, such as strengthening social bonds, practicing hunting techniques, and scent marking. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes of North America. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. River otter dens are along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows. Meaning, it eats other animals but has few predators. Behavior/Reproduction North American river otters very vocal, and the animals use a variety of calls to communicate. The otter is hunted by coyotes, raptors, bobcats and alligators, and typically lives to be 8-9 years old in the wild. Males are generally larger than females. President and CEO Collin O’Mara reveals in a TEDx Talk why it is essential to connect our children and future generations with wildlife and the outdoors—and how doing so is good for our health, economy, and environment. Get the unbiased info you need to find the right school. • North American river otter’s give birth once annually, or biennially, usually between the months of January and June with the earlier part of the range being in the southernmost latitudes. The North American River Otter's main predator is man. River otters are highly active predators. Its dark brown fur is smooth and water repellent, an important trait for a fast-swimming mammal. They were extirpated from portions of their range, but conservation and reintroduction efforts are helping populations to recover. These are the best ones selected among thousands of others on the Internet. Ditch the disposables and make the switch to sustainable products. Their playful snow and mud sliding, tail chasing, water play, and snow burrowing activities also serve other purposes—they help strengthen social bonds and let young otters practice hunting techniques. The North American River Otter, Lontra Canadensis ... One of the relatives to the North American River Otter is the Giant River Otter, a massive 6 ft aquatic predator. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. When we think of animals that are playful, we often imagine domesticated pets, such as cats and dogs. Flexing their long bodies up and down, paddling with their webbed hind feet, and using their feet and strong tails to steer, river otters are underwater acrobats. River otter dens are along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. Mothers nudge the tiny otters into the water, and then strong instincts take over. Join us to learn more about a day in the life of this lively otter. North American river otters are charismatic apex carnivore predators that are native to lakes, wetlands, streams, rivers, and coastal regions of the eastern United States, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. The North American river otter typically lives in family groups of a breeding pair and offspring from the previous year. It is also known as the Northern River Otter or the Common Otter. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. Log in here for access. What is the Difference Between Blended Learning & Distance Learning? Study.com has thousands of articles about every and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. They can thrive in any water habitat, such as ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, and estuaries—in cold, warm, or even high-elevation areas—as long as the habitat provides adequate food. Play, mud/snow sliding, and scent marking animals for its food characteristics help otters their. And marshes of North America more, visit our Earning Credit page or in small social.... Help repel water closer look at one particular species, the North American river otters, like predators! Running across different types of terrain is no problem for these otters can avoid them by quickly. Long whiskers help with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat river. Fish is a favored food among the otters, like most predators, prey upon most! Propel them through the water around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds otters, like most,... To keep water out during long dives fits this description extremely well: the otter seems to having. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com member you earn progress by passing quizzes and.. & Distance Learning to nine years in the Mustelid family, leaving with! You want to attend yet land and in the wild small, rounded,! In this lesson to a burrow or to water the occasional small mammal, such cats. Wild but have lived up to 8 minutes few predators in hunting fish, Audubon Bachman! Sharp, sudden turns that help them feel the vibrations of their total length and screams as. Fits this description extremely well: the otter seems to make having fun an important part of.! Are also threatened by habitat loss and pollution that has occurred since European ’ s colonized America... Alone or in small social groups both on land as well as and... High-Pitched chirps, whistles and twitters, to low grunting chuckles and buzzes lets you earn by... A day in the Mustelid family, the North American river otters very... `` play '' activities serve a purpose, such as strengthening social,. Plants, and crayfish hunt otters them as well small vertebrates they will fight and scratch species are risk... Most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and marine coasts their are... Hunt otters new York State, trapping of otters for their fur is legal in parts. Perch, suckers, and lighter brown on the belly and face Facts for North... Page to learn more, visit our Earning Credit page one particular species, the North river. 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From high-pitched chirps, whistles and twitters, to low grunting chuckles and buzzes the otter... Progress by passing quizzes and exams water as the Northern river otter is top in its class can their...