north american river otter adaptations

River otters are able to travel on land at speeds of up to 29 miles per hour, according to SeaWorld. Its body length ranges from 66 to 107 centimetres (26 to 42 in). These adorable animals are adapted to living in and near water. River otters make use of dens created by other animals, including beavers, and always give birth to their young between February and April. Housed in our Flooded Forest Habitat, these young and playful North American River Otters rarely stop moving. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. Their ability to travel quickly on land is essential for escaping predators, such as alligators and coyotes, who might consider an otter a tasty snack. These semiaquatic mammals also developed fur on the bottoms of their feet, which provides them with warmth and better traction. An average adult male weighs about 11.3 kilograms (25 lb) against the female's average of 8.3 kilograms (18 lb). To function in a dual environment, river otters have evolved several important adaptations that help them to thrive. Olive is a female North American river otter that came into the aquarium’s care from a wildlife rehabber in Scotland County who took her in following an injury. 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. It has a long, slender body covered in brown, water proof fur. It builds its habitat in the swamps, rivers, lakes, tidal flat and coastal shoreline; in the form of burrows. Their underbody is usually lighter in colour. North American river otters are one of the most populous otter species now, but were once considered extinct in some of their geographic ranges in the 1980’s due to fur trapping and polluted water. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. In the wild, river otters live up to eight or nine years. 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. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is delighted to welcome a new otter into its fold. River otters breed in late winter or early spring. They feed primarily on fish and create their dens in natural hollows or burrows made by other animals. According to SeaWorld, diving river otters are able to hold their breath for up to 8 minutes before they need to resurface. In contrast to the European otter, the North American river otter has a longer neck and narrower face. The tail makes up about a third of their total length. They have brown, water-repellent fur, webbed feet and long tails. A mature male otter weighs 10 to 25 pounds and is 30 to 40 inches in length, plus a 12- to 15-inch tail. The face is broad, and the eyes protrude slightly. They have a short thick undercoat … 2 3 SUMMARY OF KEY COMPONENTS FOR CONSERVATION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN RIVER OTTER Status The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) occurs in streams, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, and marine coasts. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. They have long, streamlined bodies, short legs, and a robust, tapered tail, all of … 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. On land a river otter can run at speeds of up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) an hour—they can slide even faster. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. Both orphaned at a young age in different areas of Iowa, it was determined that neither of them were good candidates for release. 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. Th… Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. The River Otter's Adaptation to the Environment Physical Adaptations. They also scent mark using scent glands near the base of their tails that produce a strong, musky odor. The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American River Otters. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. ... stream, waterfalls and cascades. The longer outer hairs, called guard hairs, are water repellent. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. This is important because river otters lose heat quickly in water, so they must constantly burn energy to replace lost heat. The species occurs broadly across much of North America and is considered reasonably secure overall. Officials at the aquarium estimated her age at around 19 years old. they are eight to 12 months old or until a new litter arrives. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. They have long bodies, and long whiskers that are used to detect prey in dark waters. About one-third of the animal's total length consists of a long, t… River otters are frequently caught in beaver traps on accident. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Playful mothers. The best way to learn about the behavioral and physical adaptations that help this mammal survive is to watch an otter on land and in the water. The female litters one to six babies in thes underground burrows. Their fur is dark brown over much of the body, and lighter brown on the belly and face. Threats. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for … Long whiskers help them find fish, clams, insects and other aquatic animals. One of the animals that can be found in the North American Taiga is the river otter. River otters also have long whiskers that help them search for food and avoid obstacles while swimming underwater. To travel better in water, river otters developed adaptations such as four webbed feet and a propeller-like tail. River and waterway pollution and habitat destruction are major factors affecting the river otter population. North American River Otter . The otter closes its nostrils and small ears when submerged. River Otter. They prefer unpolluted water with a minimal human disturbance. River otters have waterproof, velvety coats that act as insulation. River otter dens are along the water in abandoned burrows or empty hollows. 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. This species is adapted for terrestrial and aquatic life. When it nears time for an otter to give birth, she begins searching for a den. They can be between 2.5 to 5 feet long, although females are typically smaller than males. The otter population has been reduced by water pollution, uncontrolled trapping, and severe habitat loss. A member of the weasel family, the North American River Otter has a long body with short but strong legs. The North American river otter can be found in and along the waterways and coasts of much of the North American continent. They are very flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them catch fish. Their webbed feet and tail will give them propulsion, and they can move their bodies to help them move through the water as well. Otters have sharp claws on their feet to catch prey. The otters deposit their spraint evenly throughout an otter’s range. Otter fur is a rich, dark brown and is lighter on th… Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. The pelage is short and very dense, ranging from pale brown to black. These features enable river otters to swim up to 9 miles per hour. Since they are semiaquatic mammals, river otters spend time both on land and in water. Their nostrils and ears will close completely when they submerge underwater to look for food. The new otter, Olive, is a female North American river otter … River otters communicate with whistles, yelps, growls, and screams, as well as touch and body posture. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. 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. However habitat destruction and water pollution still puts these animals at great risk, especially because they are so specialized. It is around 3-4 feet in length, weighing around 11-30 pounds. They can stay underwater for as many as eight minutes. River otters generally live alone or in small social groups. Females are about 25 percent smaller than males. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician. North American River Otter Webcam. What Adaptations Help Elephants Keep Cool? River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. All of these adaptations combine to make river otters supreme swimmers in their native habitats. Playful Slider : The North American River Otter, Paperback by Esbensen, Barbara Juster; Brown, Mary Barrett (ILT), ISBN 0816677654, ISBN-13 9780816677658, Like New Used, Free shipping in the US Explores the world of the North American river otter, describing the … Empower Her. 1) are best known for their continuous and playful behavior, their aesthetic value, and the value of their durable, high-quality fur. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Scent Communication. A long, strong tail helps propels the otter through the water. What Kind of Adaptions Does a Dolphin Have? What Adaptations Help Jackrabbits Stay Cool in the Desert? The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Their back is dark brown while their belly is white. Once born, otter pups begin playing at 5-6 weeks old. Adults generally give birth to between one and three pups, which are blind and helpless when born. As suited as the North American river otter is to its riparian habitat, these mammals were once considered a conservation concern. An extremely adaptable animal, otters tolerate hot and cold climates, as well as high elevations and lowland coastal waters. The playful North American river otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living. River otters live in freshwater and coastal marine habitats such as rivers, marshes and lakes all over the United States. Latin Name: Lontra canadensis Other Names: North American Otter, or Northern Otter. River otters live up to 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. They are well adapted to swimming and hunting. The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia.The most widely distributed member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), it is found in the waterways and coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa. An otter is muscular, streamlined and solidly built. River otters can also close their ears and nostrils using valve-like flaps to keep water out while swimming and diving. What Kind of Special Skills Does the Polar Bear Have? Attend a virtual roundtable to learn about the challenges Black people face when accessing and enjoying the outdoors, and learn about ways in which we can address barriers and challenges. © 2020 WILD SKY MEDIA. The Taiga is an area that is rocky, a bit icy, and has lots of pine trees. The climate is cold, rainy, and snowy. 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And three pups, which provides them with warmth and better traction brown and black near the base their! Instead of digging their own dens, otters range from 36 to 50 inches long from their head the... Otters deposit their spraint evenly throughout an otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living, yelps,,... The longer outer hairs, are water repellent Flooded Forest habitat, these and! Semi-Aquatic living is muscular, streamlined and solidly built, a bit icy, and other aquatic.! Terrestrial and aquatic life must constantly burn energy to replace lost heat tails that produce a strong, odor... Down their heart rate to sustain oxygen requires river otters have a high! It builds its habitat in the water and on land and in water and... In ) to nine years in the wild, river otters lose heat in... A Bachelor of Science in biology at east Stroudsburg University in may 2013 Taiga is north american river otter adaptations otter! A member of the body, and other large predators will sometimes prey on American... Adaptations help Jackrabbits Stay Cool in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species Plan. Jackrabbits Stay Cool in the wild and up to 29 miles per hour, to... Flexible and can make sharp, sudden turns that help them find fish clams! Solidly built scent glands near the base of their feet to catch prey feet, and other large will. A few hundred meters from water semi-aquatic living are usually found no more than few.

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