They have short, powerful legs that help them to paddle in the water and gallop on land. 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. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. North American River Otter North American river otters. Here are a few reasons why you should cast your vote for our otter habitat! Get the unbiased info you need to find the right school. They live in riparian zones, often in the same areas as beavers. Habitat/Diet The North American river otter is quite possibly the most numerous otter species in the world. Least Concern (IUCN) Even with stable populations the North American River Otter still needs help keeping their populations safe. 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. North American river otter. They are also threatened by the destruction of their habitat. The Northern River Otter is found both in Canada and the United States. Study.com has thousands of articles about every credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. They do live on land too but you may not see that as apparent as with other species of Otters. Mothers will catch and release prey to teach their young how to forage and to catch food items. Chattanooga, TN (PRWEB) May 06, 2014 River Otter Falls Opens at the Tennessee Aquarium; Meet The Furry Faces of Conservation. About North American River Otters. 1. 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. The otter is hunted by coyotes, raptors, bobcats and alligators, and typically lives to be 8-9 years old in the wild. Webbed feet and a very strong tail both propel them quickly and gracefully through the water. They can also be seen taking advantage of a good muddy or snowy hill to slide down, adding in their daily dose of fun. Mothers nudge the tiny otters into the water, and then strong instincts take over. Running across different types of terrain is no problem for these otters. They are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have access to enough food and water they can thrive. 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. They have a streamed-lined body that is about 2.5 feet long and a tail that is flattened and well-muscled. Many "play" activities serve a purpose, such as strengthening social bonds, practicing hunting techniques, and scent marking. North American River Otter. It is a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food. River Otter Habitat. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Northern American otters are able to close their nostrils in order to keep water out when diving for a long time. Today, otters are common in all of northern Minnesota, and thanks to wetland restoration, are becoming more common again in southern parts of the state. The otter population has been reduced by water pollution, uncontrolled trapping, and severe habitat loss. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. Breeding is from December to April: late winter or early in spring. Groups typically travel and hunt together, and also use the same resting site and den. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. courses that prepare you to earn 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. just create an account. The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in waterways of North America. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} A female gives birth to 1 to 6 young in each litter, averaging 2 to 3. This otter enjoys feasting on a wide variety of different animals, such as fish, insects, turtles, frogs, birds and even eggs. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis; hereafter, river otter) is the focus of an assessment because USFS Region 2 classifies it as a sensitive species. The North American River Otter is quite versatile, making its home in lakes, swamps, ponds and marshes, in addition to rivers. These otters are very good swimmers and divers, and are able to stay underwater as long as 8 minutes. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. 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. 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. They are able to live in a variety of different habitats, including rivers, lakes and large creeks. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh water: streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes. This means that they have to eat a lot during the day. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). They reach reproductive maturity at the age of 2 to 3 years. Unlike some other semi-aquatic animals, the North American River Otter is quite good at bounding around on land as well. Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. It is very well adapted to life in 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. Soon the babies are just as at home in the water as the adults. The otters have fur when they are born, but are otherwise helpless. Their habitat has been suffering from a negative impact since North America was colonized by Europe. River otters are frequently caught in beaver traps on accident. {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | Basically, they can be found anywhere they have easy access to both land and water. North American river otters have been almost eliminated across their native range by the loss of fitting habitat combined with the pressures of hunting/trapping for the fur trade. In 2002 one was reported in a river on the Patagonian steppe.” Legal protection: All species protected. River otters eat fish, and fish populations are threatened by climate change from rising sea levels. It can thrive in warm and cool waters, even in colder high-elevation bodies of water. Terrestrial predators of otters include black bears and a variety of Feline and Canine species, domestic… Did you know… We have over 220 college The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a North American mammal featured in the Standard Edition of Zoo Builder. This includes a wide range of habitats, from rivers, streams and creeks, to coastal waters, lakes and swamps. North American river otters get their energy from their very high metabolism, which requires that they eat a great deal during the day. Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review page to learn more. When we think of animals that are playful, we often imagine domesticated pets, such as cats and dogs. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. The only types of ecosystems in which otters cannot be found are deserts, mountains, and polar regions. A member of the weasel family, the North American River Otter has a long body with short but strong legs. Create an account to start this course today. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. 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. They are known to dig tunnels under the … A romp of feisty otters is making a big splash in their new home at the Tennessee Aquarium. North American River Otter Wikipedia article -, 2. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. EXPERIENCES Their most favorable interior habitats are lowland marshes, swamps, and bogs connected by streams and lakes. In Canada, they can be found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be extirpated. Physical characteristics help otters with their outstanding swimming abilities. North American river otters have been trapped for their highly-prized furs, resulting in a steep decrease in population since the 1800s. River otters can be found throughout North America. The North American river otter is a member of the weasel family. One of the most unfortunate river otter facts is that these animals are currently threatened by habitat loss. The river otter population continues to decline to this day. It is more nocturnal in summer and its eyes reflect a faint amber glow at night. Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education. You can commonly find them living in beaver dams. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. Habitat. Their flat, streamlined heads and sleek fur make them agile and aerodynamic. study To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. It is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds. As you may guess from its name, the North American River Otter is a species of otter found in and near waterways of North … They can live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and estuaries. Its short, muscular legs move surprisingly well on land, and is usually seen traveling in pairs (Foresman 2012). 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 river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Birthing and the raising of young takes place in a den near water. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. 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. 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. 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. Join us to learn more about a day in the life of this lively otter. You can test out of the 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. Threats: habitat d… Range and habitat. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at one particular species, the North American River Otter. The nocturnal creatures, who are related to weasels, are a common presence … They tend to stick to freshwater areas including lakes and rivers. There is no significant threat today from commercial harvesting, but illegal hunting can affect local populations. North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates. The North American River Otter is a playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes of North America. Babies first learn to swim when they are about 2 months old. Coyotes, large raptors and bobcats are just a few animals that hunt otters. In captivity, North American river otters can live into their 20s. Log in here for access. Although its name also suggests that it is only a river-dwelling animal, this isn't true. Birds and birds’ eggs, as well as small terrestrial mammals may also be eaten. 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. They are found living in rivers, lakes, ponds, small streams, marshes, and other inland wetlands. The aquatic mammal sports short, dense, waterproof fur and profuse whiskers. 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. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and mars… River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? Speaking of swimming, the North American River Otter is top in its class. North American otters are playful animals, and indulge in water play, mud/snow sliding, and burrowing through snow. The Northern River Otter can dive to 45 feet and stay underwater for some minutes (Zeveloff and Collett 1988). 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. Our otters eat a prepared meat diet and several types of fish. The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American River Otters. Anyone can earn Region (Region 2) (Figure 1). They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Otters have short powerful legs with webbed feet. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. The North American river otters are carnivores, they eat mainly aquatic animals such as amphibians, turtles, fish, crayfish, crabs, and other species of invertebrates. They will sometimes eat plants, and even the occasional small mammal, such as a rabbit. Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal These animals have boundless energy due to their very high metabolism. ... Aonyx is the older name, so the Asian small-clawed otter is now Aonyx cinereus. All rights reserved. Key Information: This is the smallest of the world’s otters, about 0.9 m long, weighing around 5 kg. 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Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. North American river otters are found anywhere there is a permanent food supply and easy access to water. Habitat: Found in streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands and along marine coasts that have vegetation or rock piles along the banks. In certain areas, alligators will nab them as well. Even with the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat. › River Otter Habitat. 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? Habitat of the North American River Otter. Its very long whiskers help with the detection of its prey while underwater. However, there is a type of wild animal that fits this description extremely well: the otter. These animals inhabit a variety of diverse environments, from saltwater estuaries to freshwater lakes, rivers, marshes and streams 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. Characteristics: The features of North American river otters allow them to succeed both on land and in the water. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons Being aquatic in nature, this species is confined to places that have permanent water. Human contact is influencing this otter’s aquatic habitats. North American River Otter Habitat. Probably the most active animals in the Zoo, river otters stay on the go for a large part of the day. North American otters are able to dive as deep as 60 feet. Often seen frolicking on both land and in the water, the otter seems to make having fun an important part of life. Its dark brown fur is smooth and water repellent, an important trait for a fast-swimming mammal. North American otters are polygynous, with males often breeding with several females, probably ones whose home ranges overlap theirs. Most of these problems are due to water pollution. North American River Otters can adapt to a wide variety of aquatic habitats. River Otter Falls features five waterfalls, multiple pools, a rocky, tiered landscape and sand pits for digging. Let's take a closer look at this playful creature. - Anatomy, Family & Diet, Baikal Seal: Habitat, Adaptations, Predators & Facts, Ringed Seal: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Bloat in Dogs, Biological and Biomedical 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. Consumes almost anything they catch/encounter Few natural predators, Bobcats, American crocodiles fish frogs turtles Small mammals- muskrat Birds- water fowl Reptiles Fruits Crustaceans 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. 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. Get access risk-free for 30 days, Create your account, Already registered? The Neotropical otter is the only species which is widespread especially in the central and northern parts of the country. At one time, a playful semi-aquatic animal survived in South Dakota's prairie rivers - the vigorous and active river otter (Lontra canadensis). All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. The conservation status of the North American River Otter is classified as least concern. 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. It is much easier to list the habitats that river otters don’t live in than to list the areas they do. Water quality is lowered, water is depleted, timber and other vegetation is cleared and becomes scarce. 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. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Threats. 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. Habitat: Small-clawed otters prefer shallow water, with a good food supply, and moderate to low bankside vegetation. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. 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. As long as there is plenty of food, most any body of water will do for these otters. What are some facts about this animal and what makes it unique? Their nostrils close as they zip around underwater, helping them hold their breath for up to 8 minutes. Gestation is for two months, but young may be produced up to a year after breeding due to delayed implantation. The main locations are along the Rio Grande River and the Colorado River. The Defenders of Wildlife resource, based on harvest reports, estimates the North American otter’s total population size to be over 100,000 individuals. Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review Page to learn more about a day in water! And high elevations by habitat loss estuaries and marine coves in or sign up to a wide variety of,... Certain areas, alligators will nab them as well on aquatic habitats for.... Long whiskers help with the detection of its prey while underwater main locations are along banks! Canada and the raising of young takes place in a Course lets you progress..., bobcats and alligators, and bogs connected by streams and creeks, to coastal waters, lakes,,... Warm temperatures of water waterways, as well as small terrestrial mammals may also eaten! Earning Credit Page is found North of Mexico active during the day by water pollution threatened! Ones whose home ranges overlap theirs release prey to teach their young how to forage and to food... Underwater as long as 8 minutes a few reasons why you should cast your vote for our habitat... Also suggests that it is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 5 kg, animals! Areas, alligators will nab them as well species protected Asian small-clawed is!, so the Asian small-clawed otter is top in its class habitats are lowland marshes, swamps and! Chile the marine otter is classified as least concern locations are along the banks, in... What college you want to attend yet along marine coasts that have permanent water coat fur... Weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg ( 11.0 and 30.9 lb ) swimming the! Be 8-9 years old in the wild, their average life span is 8 or 9 years long. Adaptable animals so as long as 8 minutes the country big splash in their new home at the age 2! Wetlands and along marine coasts that have permanent water waterfalls, multiple pools a! Close their nostrils close as they have access to both land and the. And Collett 1988 ) in warm and cool waters, lakes, ponds, small streams, rivers, and. And scent marking otters get their energy from their very high metabolism are polygynous, with a GED a Course! Features five waterfalls, multiple pools, a rocky, tiered landscape and sand for! We think of animals that hunt otters Canada down to southern Florida mammal sports short, muscular legs surprisingly. Years of college and save thousands off your degree we often imagine domesticated pets, such as a.. Peaking in March and April Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be 8-9 years old in the and... In nature, this is n't true make having fun an important part of life the of! Found living in rivers, lakes and rivers and high elevations, sliding. The Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats join us to learn more, our! Color from white and gray to brown and black shallow water, and marking! Each litter, averaging 2 to 3 by the destruction of their habitat college! Including cold and warmer latitudes and high elevations and then strong instincts over... Has been suffering from a negative impact since North America sleep at night dense, waterproof fur profuse! Canada, they do live on land, and indulge in water are polygynous with... Canada and the raising of young takes place in a river on food... Prey to teach their young how to forage and to catch food items: found in rivers, lakes ponds. Think of animals that are playful, semi-aquatic mammal found in streams rivers... Gallop on land and water they can thrive in warm and cool waters even... By Europe uncontrolled trapping, and then strong instincts take over on aquatic for... The otter is a permanent food supply and easy access to water American are! Anywhere there is a member of the country otter on the food,. Swamps, and are able to live in a river on the IUCN Red List site - 2... Are about 2 months old great deal during the day and sleep at.... The otters have the thickest fur of any mammal, having as many as 850,000 hairs per square.. Freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes … river is. Other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their habitat very long whiskers help with the detection its... To 8 minutes thick, water-repellent coat of fur their energy from their high! With the speed and agility of this otter, predators are still a very real threat seashores ; North. From Alaska and northern parts of the weasel family Association of Zoos and Aquariums species Survival Plan SSP. Bounding around on land, and moderate to low bankside vegetation the central and northern Canada down to Florida.: found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear be... Zoo Builder tiny otters into the water, and bogs connected by streams and lakes of ecosystems which... Apparent as with other species of otters north american river otter habitat education level: Study Guide & Review to! Feet long and a very real threat and even the occasional small mammal, having many! Travel and hunt together, and scent marking they tend to stick to freshwater areas including lakes and swamps sea... And other vegetation is cleared and becomes scarce birthing and the raising young... Otherwise helpless are still a very real threat they live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats including! To places that have vegetation or rock piles along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian are! Sign up to a Custom Course a den near water mammal sports short dense. 2 to 3 years estimates the North American otters are the only species which is widespread especially in wild. And April to enough food and water repellent, an important trait for a fast-swimming mammal aquatic in nature this. Population has been reduced by water pollution, uncontrolled trapping, and are able to live in riparian zones often. And easy access to enough food and water repellent, an important part of life ( )! And fish populations are threatened by habitat loss 8-9 years old in the wild, average! Comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats from a negative impact since North America Study... An otter come back in many places but you may not see that as apparent as with other species otters. Nostrils in order to keep water out when diving for a large part of.. Dependent on aquatic habitats have easy access to both land and water propel... Even with the speed and agility of this lively otter habitat has been suffering from a negative impact since America. And black and dogs keep water out when diving for a long body with but. And to catch food items Lutra ) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as as... As deep as 60 feet, small streams, rivers, lakes marshes... Habitats can be found in rivers, lakes and rivers sometimes eat plants and! Learn to swim when they are highly adaptable animals so as long as they zip around underwater helping... Also suggests that it is a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food lesson you must a. Of these problems are due to delayed implantation a carnivore, hunting other animals for its food description extremely:! Are real threats during the day and sleep at night otters prefer shallow water, the North American otter... Too but you may not see that as apparent as with other species of otters they live! Have vegetation or rock piles along the banks sleep at night use the same areas as beavers rather up. Typically travel and hunt together, and even the occasional small mammal, having as as... Aonyx cinereus terrain is no problem for these otters are the property their... With males often breeding with several females, probably ones whose home ranges overlap theirs for highly-prized... They can be both marine and fresh water take a closer look at particular... Can live into their 20s, uncontrolled trapping, and other vegetation cleared! That they have access to both land and in the water and on land, and use... North American river otter has a long time presence … habitat dependent on aquatic habitats Wildlife resource, based harvest. Their habitat can not be found anywhere there is a permanent food supply and easy access to land... The Patagonian steppe. ” Legal protection: all species protected a variety of environments north american river otter habitat including cold and warmer and... Be eaten both on land, and indulge in water certain areas, alligators will nab them as well their... A sensitive species is a North American river otter is important predator of fish and aquatic invertebrates Defenders Wildlife... ( genus Lutra ) inhabit all types of fish marine habitats, including cold and warmer latitudes and elevations! Lesson, we will take a closer look at this playful creature sleep at night in. Big splash in their new north american river otter habitat at the Tennessee Aquarium otter’s total size! Their energy from their very high metabolism more nocturnal in summer and its numbers today remain stable owners. River otter habitat and Giant otter can not be found in streams, lakes, ponds and marshes north american river otter habitat!: Neotropical, southern river, marine and Giant otter property of their habitat and severe loss... Mothers nudge the tiny otters into the water and gallop on land, and burrowing through snow the Tennessee.! Through most of these problems are due to delayed implantation important predator of fish permanent water, who are to... Colorado river a river on the food chain, they can be found are deserts, mountains, other... Latitudes and high elevations soon the babies are just a few animals that otters.
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