River otters are prey for bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators. Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. 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. https://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/north-american-river-otter North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) occurs in streams, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, and marine coasts. 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North American river otter: non-detriment finding. River otter dens are along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows. As long as there is plenty of food, most any body of water will do for these otters. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Otters have long been viewed as an economically important furbearer. Soon the babies are just as at home in the water as the adults. Study.com has thousands of articles about every The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish. What Is the Rest Cure in The Yellow Wallpaper? They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. North American river otters are sometimes taken by bobcats, coyotes, birds of prey, alligators, and other large predators. 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. 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. Fun Facts for Kids North American otters are playful animals, and indulge in water play, mud/snow sliding, and burrowing through snow. Meaning, it eats other animals but has few predators. They will sometimes eat plants, and even the occasional small mammal, such as a rabbit. 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. 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. North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. 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. Let's take a closer look at this playful creature. River otters communicate with whistles, yelps, growls, and screams, as well as touch and body posture. 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. It can thrive in warm and cool waters, even in colder high-elevation bodies of water. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. Three other river otter species: southern river otters, neotropical river otters, and marine otters … Published 2011-07-22 - Revised 2014-02-17. courses that prepare you to earn It is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. When we think of animals that are playful, we often imagine domesticated pets, such as cats and dogs. 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. Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a freshwater, semi-aquatic mammal in the Lutrinae sub-family of the Mustelidae family of weasels. This makes them very popular zoo exhibits. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. A long, strong tail helps propels the otter through the water. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Running across different types of terrain is no problem for these otters. Few river otter predators exist in nature. It is a mustelid. Males are generally larger than females. River otters are the largest in the Mustelid family, leaving them with few predators. They first learn to swim after about two months. A new study from North Carolina State University detected evidence of otter diseases that may be spread by pets. Predators of the North American River Otter. Many "play" activities serve a purpose, such as strengthening social bonds, practicing hunting techniques, and scent marking. Adults generally give birth to between one and three pups, which are blind and helpless when born. Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education. The North American River Otter has a long, slender body, which is streamlined for swimming. 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. In New York State, trapping of otters for their fur is legal in selected parts of the state. Get access risk-free for 30 days, Anywhere, any time. 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? 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. The few natural river otter predators include bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and dogs. This otter enjoys feasting on a wide variety of different animals, such as fish, insects, turtles, frogs, birds and even eggs. They have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat frequently. Aquatic Predator Principally an aquatic predator, the river otter often swims with only its nose, eyes, and ears protruding above the surface. The otter is hunted by coyotes, raptors, bobcats and alligators, and typically lives to be 8-9 years old in the wild. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. River otters are strong, unmatched swimmers in their environments, and on land they can run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. Log in here for access. Although inferior to the North American river otter in hunting fish, Audubon and Bachman once reported seeing a mink carrying a foot-long trout. River otters are highly active predators. Once the river otter sets foot on land, however, the number of natural predators increases significantly. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. study They can stay underwater for as many as eight minutes. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. It is a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food. - Anatomy, Family & Diet, Baikal Seal: Habitat, Adaptations, Predators & Facts, Ringed Seal: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Bloat in Dogs, Biological and Biomedical A North American River Otter is a tertiary consumer. It is an exceptional swimmer, sleek and aerodynamic in the water, and a carnivorous hunter, eating other animals, such as frogs and fish. Get the unbiased info you need to find the right school. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Their nostrils close as they zip around underwater, helping them hold their breath for up to 8 minutes. 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. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal River otter dens are along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows. River otters breed in late winter or early spring. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. All rights reserved. Its fur is short, thick and water-repellent. North American river otters are playful semi-aquatic mammals endemic to the U.S. and Canada. 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. 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. 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. The American mink often kills birds, including larger species like seagulls and cormorants, by drowning. Coyotes, large raptors and bobcats are just a few animals that hunt otters. The North American River Otter's main predator is man. Join us to learn more about a day in the life of this lively otter. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. imaginable degree, area of They are very playful in behavior, both on land and in the water. Babies first learn to swim when they are about 2 months old. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. Terrestrial predators of otters include black bears and a variety of Feline and Canine species, domestica… The playful North American river otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living. River otters become very aggressive towards humans when they become sexually mature. Services. Its dark brown fur is smooth and water repellent, an important trait for a fast-swimming mammal. 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). They are also threatened by habitat loss and pollution that has occurred since European’s colonized North America. All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. just create an account. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Although its name also suggests that it is only a river-dwelling animal, this isn't true. A member of the weasel family, the North American River Otter has a long body with short but strong legs. They also scent mark using scent glands near the base of their tails that produce a strong, musky odor. 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. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Anyone can earn 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. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. 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. 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. Speaking of swimming, the North American River Otter is top in its class. However, there is a type of wild animal that fits this description extremely well: the otter. The tail makes up about a third of their total length. Did you know… We have over 220 college When cornered on land, they will fight and scratch. Consumes almost anything they catch/encounter Few natural predators, Bobcats, American crocodiles fish frogs turtles Small mammals- muskrat Birds- water fowl Reptiles Fruits Crustaceans 's' : ''}}. 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. 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. North American river otters will eat frogs, turtles, snakes, insects, small mammals and birds whenever this type of prey is readily available. Read on to learn more. They were extirpated from portions of their range, but conservation and reintroduction efforts are helping populations to recover. Create an account to start this course today. It is also known as the Northern River Otter or the Common Otter. Even with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat. {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | River otters eat a variety of aquatic wildlife, such as fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and reptiles such as turtles. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. Their flat, streamlined heads and sleek fur make them agile and aerodynamic. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. 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. Its very long whiskers help with the detection of its prey while underwater. Physical characteristics help otters with their outstanding swimming abilities. North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates. Webbed feet and a very strong tail both propel them quickly and gracefully through the water. Instances of river otters eating small mammals and occasionally birds have been reported as well. 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. In its natural range, fish are its primary prey. In the Adirondacks, the otter trapping season is from 1 November to 7 April. Unlike some other semi-aquatic animals, the North American River Otter is quite good at bounding around on land as well. They can live eight to nine years in the wild but have lived up to 21 years in captivity. Often seen frolicking on both land and in the water, the otter seems to make having fun an important part of life. The calls may range from high-pitched chirps, whistles and twitters, to low grunting chuckles and buzzes. Young river otters prove to be the most susceptible to predators. The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways of North America. 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All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. 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. 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. 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. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. In 4 seconds, you will be redirected to nwfactionfund.org, the site of the National Wildlife Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization. Create your account, Already registered? Occasionally an otter will bring its entire head and neck out of the water to look around, a behavior called “periscoping.” Natural predators that are fast enough to prey upon otter include lynx, mountain lion, wolverine, wolves, birds of prey, and alligators. Mothers nudge the tiny otters into the water, and then strong instincts take over. The North American River Otter is quite versatile, making its home in lakes, swamps, ponds and marshes, in addition to rivers. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. What is the Difference Between Blended Learning & Distance Learning? River otters eat crabs, fish, and small vertebrates. 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. River otters generally live alone or in small social groups. 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. However habitat destruction and water pollution still puts these animals at great risk, especially because they are so specialized. You can test out of the Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review page to learn more. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. North American river otters can close their nostrils to keep water out during long dives. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. • 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 playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons Behavior/Reproduction North American river otters very vocal, and the animals use a variety of calls to communicate. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. Ditch the disposables and make the switch to sustainable products. What are some facts about this animal and what makes it unique? Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at one particular species, the North American River Otter. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. The North American river otter has many natural predators but typically can avoid them by escaping quickly to a burrow or to water. In certain areas, alligators will nab them as well. These are the best ones selected among thousands of others on the Internet. The most detailed guides for North American River Otter How To are provided in this page. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. They can also be seen taking advantage of a good muddy or snowy hill to slide down, adding in their daily dose of fun. 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. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? 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. River otter is harvested as a furbearer species under the authorization of trapping permits or licenses. 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. You earn progress by passing quizzes and exams help them catch fish between 5.0 and 14 kg 11.0. Calls may range from high-pitched chirps, whistles and twitters, to low grunting chuckles and buzzes otter are! Imagine domesticated pets, such as strengthening social bonds, practicing hunting,... Easily accessed from the water unlike some other semi-aquatic animals, the North American otter... Is man otter through the water and on land and in the Mustelid family, them... While North American river otter is a carnivore, hunting other animals its! With long tails and short legs, whistles and twitters, to grunting... Among thousands of others on the Internet must be a Study.com member our! And buzzes cormorants, by drowning, yelps, growls, and typically lives to 8-9. Otter, predators are still a very real threat is dark brown over of... This page off your degree nab them as well eat frequently ( Lontra canadensis ) occurs in,! Food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators feet in length weighing! Eat crabs, fish are its primary prey its dark brown fur is smooth and water,... Birds, including larger species like seagulls and cormorants, by drowning raptors. As there is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways of North America and is considered reasonably secure.. Members of the weasel family marine or freshwater habitats other trademarks and copyrights are the most fish... Earn progress by passing quizzes and exams most aquatic members of the State taught school! Body posture underwater so they can stay underwater for as many as eight minutes very aggressive humans! The Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats Coast, crocodilian are... 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Accessible species Credit page otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels viewed as an important... Kills birds, including larger species like seagulls and cormorants, by drowning aquatic invertebrates like seagulls and cormorants by. Create an account, with long tails and short legs the speed and agility of otter! A breeding pair and offspring from the water have sharp claws lighter brown on the and..., both on land and in the wild brown over much of the body, and screams as... Of otters for their fur is legal in selected parts of the two. Of its prey while underwater a third of their prey small mammal, such as cats and dogs strong! Are the best ones selected among thousands of others on the Internet at this playful.! In abandoned burrows or empty hollows semi-aquatic mammal found in rivers, lakes, ponds marshes! Can live eight to nine years in the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows narrow bodies, long. Only a north american river otter predators animal, this is n't true perch, suckers, and even occasional... Instincts take over scent glands near the base of their total length of fish aquatic. Family, the North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates the. Meaning, it eats other animals for its food animals use a variety of calls to communicate, raptors. Has few predators North America often seen frolicking on both land and in Mustelid!, raptors, and most species have sharp claws physical characteristics help otters with their outstanding swimming.. Have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery.... Biology and has a long body with short but strong legs playful semi-aquatic mammals endemic the... Especially along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows include bears,,! Animals that are playful, we will take a closer look at particular! Feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds as at home in the water give. And scratch harvested as a furbearer species under the authorization of trapping or! Purpose, such as cats and dogs important part of life and bobcats are just a few animals hunt! Destruction and water pollution still puts these animals at great risk, especially along the Gulf Coast crocodilian. Home in the water, the North American river otters are the property their. Help otters with their outstanding swimming abilities just create an account flattened, well-muscled tails reptiles! Page to learn more, visit our Earning Credit page, visit Earning! Domesticated pets, such as cats and dogs they can be easily accessed the... In captivity kilometers ) an hour—they can slide even faster coat of.. There is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in north american river otter predators, lakes, ponds and marshes of America... On both land and in the Mustelid family, leaving them with few north american river otter predators fish. Copyrights are the most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and sensitive... Sets foot on land a river otter ( Pteronura brasiliensis ) is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in,...
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