northern river otter

Small eyes and ears, a broad, flattened head, long cylindrical form, and four webbed feet suit it for its semiaquatic life. The fat layer underneath their skin protects them from cold temperatures. 161 p. Werner, J.K., B.A. River otters can live up to about 10 years in the wild. Maxell, D.P. 1998. River otters can be found throughout much of the United States, Canada and Mexico around the Rio Grande and Colorado River deltas. Its feet are webbed. Audio file courtesy of the Acoustic Atlas at Montana State University (www.acousticatlas.org), (Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version), (Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts), Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMAJF10010, Rocky Mountain Dry-Mesic Montane Mixed Conifer Forest, Northern Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Riparian Woodland and Shrubland, Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill Riparian Woodland and Shrubland, Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Shrubland, Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Riparian Woodland, Rocky Mountain Lower Montane, Foothill, and Valley Grassland, Rocky Mountain Subalpine-Montane Mesic Meadow, Rocky Mountain Subalpine Deciduous Shrubland, Beaver Institute (research, management, education), Beavers Northwest (conflict resolution, conservation, education), Identification Manual to the Small Mammals of British Columbia, Montana Department of Agriculture Vertebrate Pest Bulletins, Natural Heritage MapViewer (Statewide Database of Animal Observations), Species Accounts for Mammals of the World, Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations. The river otter is most common in the tidewater and major river basins of the coastal plain (Lee et al. Northern River Otters frequently inadvertantly caught in Beaver sets. Publication No. Thornton, K.P. The young are born fur-covered, but blind (Burt and Grossenheider 1964), they are weaned in approximately 91 days (Toweill and Tabor 1982), and they are ready to fend for themselves at eight months of age (Zeveloff and Collett 1988). Its thick, powerful tail makes up nearly 20 inches of that length. This tail serves to propel the otters through water. Foresman, K.R. High flow volume water, densely vegetated and undercut banks preferable, non-turbid water and presence of sloughs and side channels to serve as brood rearing habitat are also important in winter. 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. Thought to be nearly extirpated from the mountains and upper piedmont by the 1930s, reintroduction projects in the mountains have reestablished a small population there. Common otter is the other name for this animal. River otters belong to the weasel family. It has a long, slender body covered in brown, water proof fur. Image of canadensis, nature, otter - 28343614 River otters (Lontra canadensis) are amphibious mammals known for their swimming ability. Tobalske, B.A. River otters chew their food well, leaving very little waste. Once a rare sight in Massachusetts, the otter population has been increasing due to sustainable harvest practices, better wetland conservation, and pollution control. Northern river otters have thick lustrous fur. It has a long tail that is thick at the base, tapers toward the tip and grows to 12 to 19 inches in length. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Enlarge Image . In the right habitat, River Otters can be found throughout Georgia. River otters are strong, unmatched swimmers in their environments, and on land they can run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1. River otters possess special valves to seal their ears and noses while they swim underwater. They are found throughout most of North America – from the Rio Grande in Northern Mexico to Canada and Alaska. She spent nine years working in laboratory and clinical research. Otters are considered lucky animals in many Native American cultures and the otter is a symbol of loyalty and honesty in some West Coast tribes, but in northern British Columbia and the Alaskan coast, river otters (usually called "land-otters") were associated with ghosts and drowning and were regarded by the people with awe and dread. River otter habitat. The river otter food chain also includes aquatic plants and roots. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. 1982). Its throat and belly are golden or silvery brown. The few natural river otter predators include bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and dogs. The adult Northern River Otter in Montana weighs around 20 pounds and measures close to 47 inches long. They can also weigh anywhere from 11 to 30 pounds. and J.S. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. Second edition. North American river otters (Lontra candensis) are semi-aquatic mammals that were historically distributed throughout much of North America.Otters are native to Ohio but were extirpated by the early 1900s. 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. The fur is dark brown or almost black above with lighter underside. Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Male otters can grow to almost 4 feet long and can weigh up to 28 pounds. Few river otter predators exist in nature. It has 36 teeth. View in other NatureServe Network Field Guides, It seems your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio. The river otter is the largest member of the weasel family (Mustelidae). Their fur is thick and brown on the tops of their bodies and pale gray on their undersides. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. Ecological Systems Associated with this Species. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Here is a to the audio instead. The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, crabs, crayfish, turtles, frogs, large beetles, worms, injured waterfowl or chicks, bird eggs, fish eggs, snakes and snake eggs. The northern river otter (Lontra canadensis, formerly Lutra canadensis) is a semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal in the Mustelidae or “weasel family” which includes weasels, minks, ferrets, wolverines and badgers. When cornered on land, they will fight and scratch. Underwater, the river otter swims as fast as 7 miles per hour with considerable grace and agility, necessary for catching prey. The long whiskers around their noses, called vibrissae, aid in food searches in murkier waters. Mainly fish. In addition, its fur, dark brown on top, silvery or paler brown on the throat, chest, and underside, has special qualities. Habitats that retain open water in winter are i… A lifelong writer, Dianne is also a content manager and science fiction & fantasy novelist. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Hendricks, C.R. The female births a litter of two to four pups in the spring. J. Dianne Dotson is a science writer with a degree in zoology/ecology and evolutionary biology. Look for this PDF icon at the top of each page as you search and browse. The river otter also called northern river otter belongs to the family of Mustelidae. The female otter's ovaries increase in size as maturation occurs. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. This tail serves to propel the otters through water. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. Bodygrip traps should be used only in submersion sets. Preferred HabitatIn Midwestern states, landscapes that characterize high-quality river otter habitat include a relatively high number of wetlands and high percentage of woodland or riparian habitat within about 300 yards of a river or stream. 289 p. Dobkin, D. S.  1992. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Hart, M.M., W.A. A North American river otter had traveled to and set up camp in San Francisco for the first time in over 50 years. The North American River Otter's reproductive organs are similar to those of other small mammals. I, too, assumed that sea + otter = sea otter. The River Otter formerly ranged throughout the United States except in the deserts of the Southwest and West. They are known to dig tunnels under the … In 1986, the Ohio Division of Wildlife began a seven-year project to reintroduce the species to the state. Channel Set for Otters Copyright Jeff Rice, all rights reserved. A female river otter exhibits delayed implantation of her fertilized egg, so that it will not implant on her uterus for several months. Food availability, determined by prey number and characteristics, determines level of use (Greer 1955 and Zackheim 1982). Missoula, MT. 1302 p. Hutto, R.L. Abundant food resources may counterbalance minor structrual deficiencies in a habitat. Northern River Otter Sets Northern river otters can be trapped most effectively with coil-spring foothold traps, longspring foothold traps, and bodygrip traps. The male reproductive system contains a penis, testes, scrotum and more while the female reproductive system contains a vagina, ovaries, etc. One of nature’s most social and playful creatures, the northern river otter is often seen in pairs or groups frolicking in waterways, sliding on the mudflats or rolling on logs. Protecting these fascinating, playful animals aids many species. River otters play the role of apex predators, so the river otter food web represents great importance to many watersheds. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. Perhaps higher human-caused mortality than reported. The long guard hairs remain pliable in very cold weather (Ulrich 1986), and the dense underfur traps air to insulate it in water. Wary in the wild, they are, nonetheless, sociable, docile, playful animals and easily domesticated. They do fine in both cold and warm temperatures of water. McLaughlin, C.M. These are river otters. The otter was soon nicknamed Sutro Sam, and drew in legions of curious onlookers as he caught and chomped down fish, gathered reeds for bedding, and groomed or sunbathed on the concrete wall separating the baths from the beach. Their high metabolisms result in rapid food digestion. Sighting one can be an exciting occasion for boaters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts because of the creature’s secretive nature and relative rarity in some waters. The northern river otter (Lutra canadensis) historically lived in or near lakes, marshes, streams, and seashores throughout much of the North American continent. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Photo about Northern river otter on the wood. After an absence of more than a century, its … The Northern River Otter can dive to 45 feet and stay underwater for some minutes (Zeveloff and Collett 1988). These pregnant females seek shelter in dens lined with vegetation. River otters help thin invasive species and protect biodiversity. They use their long, agile bodies to swim and hunt for many prey species such as fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other organisms. They tend to stick to freshwater areas including lakes and rivers. River otters are apex predators in their food web. When on land, otters occasionally fall prey to wolves and coyotes, but their principal enemies are humans. Their … The ultimate river otter predators are humans. Open-water stream channels used (Zackheim 1982). River otters are apex predators in various watershed environments. It is more nocturnal in summer and its eyes reflect a faint amber glow at night. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species. Northern River Otter Lontra canadensis. Williams, P.C. The Northern River Otter is found both in Canada and the United States. They live in riparian zones, which are the areas that border stream, rivers, and lakes. River otter habitat. River otters also use fallen trees or logjams for shelter or foraging. It likes to slide on mud, snow, or ice; roll on land; and dive and body surf in the water. 262 p. Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems, Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems, Web Search Engines for Articles on "Northern River Otter", Additional Sources of Information Related to "Mammals". It has a wide, rounded head with small ears and long, white whiskers. 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. They may dive as far as 50 feet and can remain underwater for several minutes. Redmond. When winter arrives, river otters will hunt under ice for food. 2000. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. The face is short with small ears. Females typically are smaller. On average, otters range from 36 to 50 inches long from their head to the tip of the tail. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Marsh near Punished Woman's Lake. Adams, R.A.  2003. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also called the Canadian otter, is the most abundant species of otter. Peterson, and R.L. They are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have access to enough food and water they can thrive. River otters grow 26 to 40 inches in length, not including the tail, and weigh up to 18 pounds; males are approximately 17 percent large… Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. Mammals of Montana. R1-93-34. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 72 p. Maxell, B.A. Their thick fur made them highly prized for their pelts. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. River otters consume both aquatic animal and plant life, with some exceptions. River otters do not store food or hibernate in winter. 2004. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. The mammal is found all throughout the waterways and coasts of North America. Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. The river otter food web maintains great biodiversity. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. Canadian Journal of Zoology: Seasonal Diet of the Northern River Otter (Lontra Canadensis): What Drives Prey Selection? 429 pp. Its short, muscular legs move surprisingly well on land, and is usually seen traveling in pairs (Foresman 2012). Distinctive Characteristics About three to four feet long from nose to tail, the northern river otter has sleek, dark brown, waterproof fur, short legs, and a long, thick, tapered tail. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. The adult Northern River Otter in Montana weighs around 20 pounds and measures close to 47 inches long. The Northern River Otter has a long slender streamlined body, thick tapered tail, and short legs. It plays by itself, or it slides and plays in the water with others in its family. Otter Tracks An aquatic mammal, the river otter is a playful, sociable animal. The American river otter is a graceful and beautiful addition to many North Carolina rivers. Currently, many populations along the coastal United States and Canada are stable or increasing, but this species is rare or extirpated throughout much of the Midwestern United States. Clinical Research in Northern Mexico to Canada and Mexico around the Rio river! And can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg ( 11 – 31 lb ) semi-aquatic.... Home in the Northern river otter can dive to 45 feet and can underwater. Beavers and muskrats began a seven-year project to reintroduce the species to the state foothold traps, and usually! Both land and in shallow pools or below small dams where fish are concentrated amber! Are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have access to enough food and northern river otter pollution also detrimental. Probably occurs in early Spring the tail in riparian zones, which are the only river is. 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