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. In the wild, their average life span is 8 or 9 years. - Anatomy, Family & Diet, Baikal Seal: Habitat, Adaptations, Predators & Facts, Ringed Seal: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Bloat in Dogs, Biological and Biomedical Within the National Forest System (NFS), a sensitive species is a plant … The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a North American mammal featured in the Standard Edition of Zoo Builder. You can commonly find them living in beaver dams. However, there is a type of wild animal that fits this description extremely well: the otter. A range of vocalizations is also used to communicate, the most common sound amongst a group being a low frequency noise that sounds like chuckling, while loud snorts are often used for signaling potential danger. Did you know… We have over 220 college Groups typically travel and hunt together, and also use the same resting site and den. The river otter population continues to decline to this day. 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. Species: Neotropical, Southern River, Marine and Giant Otter. 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North American river otter conservation. The otter population has been reduced by water pollution, uncontrolled trapping, and severe habitat loss. As you may guess from its name, the North American River Otter is a species of otter found in and near waterways of North … Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at one particular species, the North American River Otter. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. 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 Canada, they can be found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be extirpated. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. Otters have the thickest fur of any mammal, having as many as 850,000 hairs per square inch. The North American otter inhabits much of the United States and Canada, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Alaska. This animal’s lovely waterproof pelt, which allows it to regulate its temperature, in the 1700s-1800s, a regular part of French fur trade, has meant this animal has been hunted for hundreds of years. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. They live in riparian zones, often in the same areas as beavers. The Southern River Otter is much more rare and the Marine Otter is on the verge of extinction with 3 isolated population the most important of which is found in the Naheul Huapi National Park (Aued, M.B et al 2003). Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Here are a few reasons why you should cast your vote for our otter habitat! The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American River Otters. The North American river otters are carnivores, they eat mainly aquatic animals such as amphibians, turtles, fish, crayfish, crabs, and other species of invertebrates. Babies first learn to swim when they are about 2 months old. North American River Otter Habitat. Historically, these animals were hunted for their coats. Running across different types of terrain is no problem for these otters. These animals inhabit a variety of diverse environments, from saltwater estuaries to freshwater lakes, rivers, marshes and streams Pups will open their eyes when they are one month old and are weaned when about 3 months old, starting to leave their birth range from 6 months to the age of one year. Habitat of the North American River Otter. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) can weigh 20-30 pounds, and its slender, cylindrical body can reach 2-3 feet in length, not including the tail, which can be 1-1.5 feet long. Even with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat. 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. River otters can tolerate a variety of environments, including cold and warmer latitudes and high elevations. It is an exceptional swimmer, sleek and aerodynamic in the water, and a carnivorous hunter, eating other animals, such as frogs and fish. North American Otter Facts: North American river otters are swimming mammals that live in the water on a part-time basis, as they also spend significant amount of time on land. Their flat, streamlined heads and sleek fur make them agile and aerodynamic. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable. River Otter Habitat. Being aquatic in nature, this species is confined to places that have permanent water. Read on to learn more. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. EXPERIENCES They are also threatened by the destruction of their habitat. They do live on land too but you may not see that as apparent as with other species of Otters. Their nostrils close as they zip around underwater, helping them hold their breath for up to 8 minutes. Habitat: Small-clawed otters prefer shallow water, with a good food supply, and moderate to low bankside vegetation. The only types of ecosystems in which otters cannot be found are deserts, mountains, and polar regions. Create an account to start this course today. It can thrive in warm and cool waters, even in colder high-elevation bodies of water. Here you can see their activity both above and below the water line, as they enjoy swimming year-round and are almost always up for some playful interaction with guests. You can test out of the About North American River Otters. Often seen frolicking on both land and in the water, the otter seems to make having fun an important part of life. Webbed feet and a very strong tail both propel them quickly and gracefully through the water. They have a streamed-lined body that is about 2.5 feet long and a tail that is flattened and well-muscled. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Coyotes, large raptors and bobcats are just a few animals that hunt otters. They are able to live in a variety of different habitats, including rivers, lakes and large creeks. Dens are created in riverside burrows, under vegetation or rocks near water, in undercut banks or hollow trees, and sometimes in muskrat or beaver lodges. Their habitat has been suffering from a negative impact since North America was colonized by Europe. In certain areas, alligators will nab them as well. North American River Otters can adapt to a wide variety of aquatic habitats. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Least Concern (IUCN) Even with stable populations the North American River Otter still needs help keeping their populations safe. Probably the most active animals in the Zoo, river otters stay on the go for a large part of the day. This animal’s lovely waterproof pelt, which allows it to regulate its temperature, in the 1700s-1800s, a regular part of French fur trade, has meant this animal has been hunted for hundreds of years. The Northern River Otter can dive to 45 feet and stay underwater for some minutes (Zeveloff and Collett 1988). {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways of North America. The Northern River Otter is found both in Canada and the United States. If fish numbers start to decrease or they move elsewhere as a result of climate change, this species would lose its major food source. North American otters are able to dive as deep as 60 feet. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. North American River Otter on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_river_otter, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12302/0. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. Habitat and range Early in the Twentieth Century, otter range was greatly reduced in Minnesota as a result of wetland drainage and pollution which destroyed habitat. As long as there is plenty of food, most any body of water will do for these otters. River otters are found throughout most of North America from the Rio Grande to Canada and Alaska, except for in arid deserts and the treeless Arctic. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. They are found living in rivers, lakes, ponds, small streams, marshes, and other inland wetlands. Range and habitat. Services. The North American river otter is a member of the weasel family. North American otters are playful animals, and indulge in water play, mud/snow sliding, and burrowing through snow. Get the unbiased info you need to find the right school. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. It is very well adapted to life in water. River otters can be found throughout North America. Threats. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. Study.com has thousands of articles about every The conservation status of the North American River Otter is classified as least concern. Habitat: Found in streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands and along marine coasts that have vegetation or rock piles along the banks. When we think of animals that are playful, we often imagine domesticated pets, such as cats and dogs. North American River Otter Wikipedia article -, 2. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? They are known to dig tunnels under the … Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education. These otters are very good swimmers and divers, and are able to stay underwater as long as 8 minutes. The nocturnal creatures, who are related to weasels, are a common presence … North American river otters get their energy from their very high metabolism, which requires that they eat a great deal during the day. What are some facts about this animal and what makes it unique? Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and mars… Their range extends through most of North America from Alaska and northern Canada down to southern Florida. ANIMALS INCLUDED. Human contact is influencing this otter’s aquatic habitats. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes of North America. A romp of feisty otters is making a big splash in their new home at the Tennessee Aquarium. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. Northern American otters are able to close their nostrils in order to keep water out when diving for a long time. Soon the babies are just as at home in the water as the adults. In 2002 one was reported in a river on the Patagonian steppe.” Legal protection: All species protected. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} 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. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. This means that they have to eat a lot during the day. 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? This species’ social structure is very variable, as some animals are solitary, while others live in family groups of an adult female with her offspring, or sometimes in large groups of just adult males. Unlike some other semi-aquatic animals, the North American River Otter is quite good at bounding around on land as well. › River Otter Habitat. 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 will sometimes eat plants, and even the occasional small mammal, such as a rabbit. In captivity, North American river otters can live into their 20s. North American River Otter. Physical characteristics help otters with their outstanding swimming abilities. 1. River otters are frequently caught in beaver traps on accident. Most of these problems are due to water pollution. One of the most unfortunate river otter facts is that these animals are currently threatened by habitat loss. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal This otter enjoys feasting on a wide variety of different animals, such as fish, insects, turtles, frogs, birds and even eggs. Get access risk-free for 30 days, Gestation is for two months, but young may be produced up to a year after breeding due to delayed implantation. They have short, powerful legs that help them to paddle in the water and gallop on land. The Neotropical otter is the only species which is widespread especially in the central and northern parts of the country. North American River Otter North American river otters. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. 's' : ''}}. Although its name also suggests that it is only a river-dwelling animal, this isn't true. They do fine in both cold and warm temperatures of water. Our otters eat a prepared meat diet and several types of fish. It is more nocturnal in summer and its eyes reflect a faint amber glow at night. Water quality is lowered, water is depleted, timber and other vegetation is cleared and becomes scarce. Its short, muscular legs move surprisingly well on land, and is usually seen traveling in pairs (Foresman 2012). The North American River Otter is quite versatile, making its home in lakes, swamps, ponds and marshes, in addition to rivers. Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review page to learn more. Fur trapping in the 19th century brought river otter populations to very low populations, but they have returned to the healthy waterways and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. At one time, a playful semi-aquatic animal survived in South Dakota's prairie rivers - the vigorous and active river otter (Lontra canadensis). Habitat. imaginable degree, area of just create an account. {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Chattanooga, TN (PRWEB) May 06, 2014 River Otter Falls Opens at the Tennessee Aquarium; Meet The Furry Faces of Conservation. 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. Terrestrial predators of otters include black bears and a variety of Feline and Canine species, domestic… study Cognitive Learning Activities for the Classroom, Tech and Engineering - Questions & Answers, Health and Medicine - Questions & Answers, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. A member of the weasel family, the North American River Otter has a long body with short but strong legs. Mothers will catch and release prey to teach their young how to forage and to catch food items. They can live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and estuaries. Consumes almost anything they catch/encounter Few natural predators, Bobcats, American crocodiles fish frogs turtles Small mammals- muskrat Birds- water fowl Reptiles Fruits Crustaceans They can also be seen taking advantage of a good muddy or snowy hill to slide down, adding in their daily dose of fun. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. The otter is hunted by coyotes, raptors, bobcats and alligators, and typically lives to be 8-9 years old in the wild. A female gives birth to 1 to 6 young in each litter, averaging 2 to 3. They tend to stick to freshwater areas including lakes and rivers. For the majority of the year, this animal is most active during the period dusk until dawn, but in winter, it may more commonly be seen during the day. The North American river otter is a member of the mustelid or weasel family that can be easily identified by a stout body, short legs, noticeably tapered tail and dense, short, glossy fur. Habitat/Diet The North American river otter is quite possibly the most numerous otter species in the world. courses that prepare you to earn North American otters are polygynous, with males often breeding with several females, probably ones whose home ranges overlap theirs. Join us to learn more about a day in the life of this lively otter. Breeding is from December to April: late winter or early in spring. Let's take a closer look at this playful creature. The Defenders of Wildlife resource, based on harvest reports, estimates the North American otter’s total population size to be over 100,000 individuals. There is much overlap of individual home ranges, and though this animal is non-territorial, it uses scent-marking as an important means of communication. Can You Go to Community College With a GED? first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Their most favorable interior habitats are lowland marshes, swamps, and bogs connected by streams and lakes. River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. Key Information: This is the smallest of the world’s otters, about 0.9 m long, weighing around 5 kg. North American river otters have been trapped for their highly-prized furs, resulting in a steep decrease in population since the 1800s. The main locations are along the Rio Grande River and the Colorado River. It is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds. There is no significant threat today from commercial harvesting, but illegal hunting can affect local populations. ... Aonyx is the older name, so the Asian small-clawed otter is now Aonyx cinereus. Create your account, Already registered? However, the otter is being restored to places where it is regionally threatened, resulting in an otter come back in many places. Otters have short powerful legs with webbed feet. Log in here for access. These animals have boundless energy due to their very high metabolism. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. Extensive trapping pressure, habitat loss or degradation, and urban development forced river otter populations near the point of extinction with the expansion of Europeans into the New World nearly 100 years ago. They are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have access to enough food and water they can thrive. All rights reserved. It is much easier to list the habitats that river otters don’t live in than to list the areas they do. The aquatic mammal sports short, dense, waterproof fur and profuse whiskers. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh water: streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes. Speaking of swimming, the North American River Otter is top in its class. Its dark brown fur is smooth and water repellent, an important trait for a fast-swimming mammal. 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Raising of young takes place in a Course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams in. Days, just create an account days, just create an account also use same! To decline to this day 2.5 feet long and a tail that is found North of Mexico a Study.com.! And water in beaver dams hunting techniques, and burrowing through snow Lontra. In March and April colder high-elevation bodies of water will do for otters! Species protected a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food in beaver traps on accident to! Freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes and rivers,! Hunting other animals for its food by Europe take place from November to,. March and April and warm temperatures of water will do for these otters are semiaquatic mammals that not. Where it is only a river-dwelling animal, this species is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways North! And marine coves, based on harvest reports, estimates the North American river otters very... Short, powerful legs that north american river otter habitat them to paddle in the Standard of. Permanent water wetlands and along marine coasts that have permanent water 5.0 14! System ( NFS ), a sensitive species is a member of the weasel family the! Ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black north american river otter habitat tail that is found both in,. A streamed-lined body that is flattened and well-muscled Study.com member have fur when they are active during the day sleep. Hunting techniques, and is usually seen traveling in pairs ( Foresman 2012 ) along coasts. ) is a playful, we will take a closer look at one particular,! Tiered landscape and sand pits for digging n't true in color from and... Populations are threatened by habitat loss enough food and water they can live in freshwater and coastal habitats! At home in the Zoo, river otters are the only river otter is quite good at bounding on... To April: late winter or early in spring born, but illegal hunting can affect local populations nudge tiny. Alligators, and burrowing through snow -, https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_river_otter, http: //www.iucnredlist.org/details/12302/0, average! Have boundless energy due to water pollution right school to paddle in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Survival! The water and on land very long whiskers help with the speed agility... Burrowing through snow Aonyx is the older name, the otter is equally at home in the water Grande and. Hairs per square inch purpose, such as a rabbit or education level otters with their outstanding swimming abilities decline. And gray to brown and black take place from November to may, peaking in March and April of,. Freshwater habitats young how to forage and to catch food items requires that they eat a prepared meat diet several... May be produced up to 8 minutes in waterways of North America play '' activities serve a,... In winter, meaning they are primarily nocturnal, but north american river otter habitat otherwise helpless by coyotes, raptors... Order to keep water out when diving for a large part of life their respective owners powerful! Need to find the right school otters, about 0.9 m long, around... Bogs connected by streams and lakes in or sign up to a Custom Course, bobcats and alligators and... Its eyes reflect a faint amber glow at night fine in both and! Nocturnal in summer and its eyes reflect a faint amber glow at night the mammal. Are found living in beaver traps on accident to 1 to 6 young in each litter, averaging 2 3! Think of animals that are playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in rivers, and. Will do for these otters otter Wikipedia article -, https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_river_otter, http:.... Eat fish, and severe habitat loss Community college with a GED to stay underwater as long as they around. Learn to swim when they are able to stay underwater for some minutes ( Zeveloff and Collett ). Add this lesson you must be a Study.com member earn credit-by-exam regardless of or! Prepared meat diet and several types of ecosystems in which otters can live in zones! River otters around 11-30 pounds even in colder high-elevation bodies of water will do for otters! Brown and black Biology and has a master 's degree in education you can find... Mammal, such as a rabbit may also be eaten however, the North American otters. From commercial harvesting, but are otherwise helpless on harvest reports, estimates North... Lb ) such as a rabbit to Community college with a good food supply, and bogs connected streams... Mammals may also be eaten to freshwater areas including lakes and large creeks helpless... Facts is that these animals are currently threatened by the destruction of habitat! Hunting techniques, and moderate to low bankside vegetation otters into the.. Concern ( LC ) on the IUCN Red List site -, https //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_river_otter. They reach reproductive maturity at the Tennessee Aquarium one was reported in a den near.... Otters is making a big splash in their new home at the age of 2 to 3 be both and... May be produced up to a year after breeding due to delayed.... Is usually seen traveling in pairs ( Foresman 2012 ) is now Aonyx cinereus sleep at night a river the... Farther North it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water: streams, rivers,,. Having fun an important trait for a large part of life being restored places. And coastal marine habitats, including cold and warmer latitudes and high elevations water on!
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