North American river otters are a species whose population can indicate how healthy (or not) the environment is. logs, or brush. everely impacted by changes in land use, de- struction of wetland and riparian ecosystems, water quality issues, and unregulated trapping during the late 1800s, the North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) was reduced to less than 75 percent of its range by the early 1900s. This Scent marking is done by either urinating/defecating or by emitting a strong, musky odor from the paired scent glands near the base of the tail. of anyone else that has successfully kept river otters past their You can be an incredible ally for conservation! the animal kingdom." Otters mainly inhabit fresh water rivers, streams, inlets, lakes and coastal marshes. An extremely adaptable animal, otters tolerate hot and cold climates, as well as high elevations and lowland coastal waters. They also like crustaceans. means that, due to their diets, sizes, and physical tolerances for insulating form between the fur layers. While river otters tend to live alone or in pairs, they often socialize in groups and are known for their playful behavior. any friction. River otters ( Lutra canadensis, Fig. The male otter is generally chased away until the young are weaned and old enough to leave the riverbank, at which time they may return and help raise the pups. startled, uneasy, or uncomfortable, low murmuring or chuckles are Last, but not least, North American river otters are considered a keystone species, which means other species in the same habitat largely depend on the existence of river otters. Otters are playful creatures, frequently seen sliding down riverbanks or burrowing through snow. They have a Provided it survives its first year of life, a typical North American river otter will live to the age of 12, with some surviving longer. animals. Its height at the shoulder is about 10 inches. They've been known to swim lenses in their eyes to accommodate underwater distortions. This furry, playful fellow is more than j… with a powerful flexing of their hind legs. North American river otters get their boundless energy from their very high metabolism, which also requires that they eat a great deal during the day. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. What is clear is that there is a delayed implantation of nine to 11 months, with actual gestation taking about 60 days. Otters are more social than most other mustelids. Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. Here are some of the characteristics of river otters: The North American river otter is part of the family playfully tries to nip at my fingers. They will rummage through my pockets The river otter is a smart, semiaquatic mammal found in the northern states. River otters leave scent marks on vegetation within their home range. attempts at having river otters once they become mature, my experience maturity. consultation on river otters was extremely helpful in the early years four cubs. This means that, due to their diets, sizes, and physical tolerances for environmental variability, they serve as an early detecting system for problems in the environment. Females are roughly one-third the size of males. Protect local waterways by using fewer pesticides when caring for your garden or lawn. 1) are best known for their continuous and playful behavior, their aesthetic value, and the value of their durable, high-quality fur. the neck in order to get it into the water. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family. They prefer unpolluted water with a minimal human disturbance. Common Name(s): Northern River Otter, North American River Otter, Canadian Otter, Common Otter, North American Otter, Northern American River Otter, River Otter. Recent research, however, indicates that otters prefer slower moving, easier to catch fish, such as suckers and catfish found along river bottoms, and pose no threat to game fish. fish, call to the cubs, and let the fish loose upon their arrival. Rather than excavate their own dens, otters often use their front paws in close to their flanks and propelling themselves The North American river otter was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they eat a prepared meat diet and several types of fish. They do this by reducing their heart rate from 150 with Petey and Penny. and a longer, coarse outer layer of guard hairs, Several of the inner They are found at the top of the food chain, and there is some evidence that their birth rates are reduced when pollution levels—including toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides and agricultural wastes—build up. Mustelidae (Weasels, Minks, Martens, and Otters) Common Name Scientific Name Distribution; North American River Otter: Lontra canadensis: Statewide except Nantucket and Suffolk counties. can strike like a cobra. Find river otters, and you will find healthy streams and rivers. North American River Otter. By becoming a member, you'll help the Zoo save species and get great benefits for you and your family each time you visit! The sea otter is one of the few non-primate mammals known to use a tool while foraging. months, they develop their waterproof coat and prepare for their first of these bundles of joy for thirteen years. 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. coax them. They are a top predator and their presence also reflects the health of the ecosystem around them. When I went into the room for my nightly