river otter biology

With the tail's strong, undulating movement, a river otter propels itself through the water as fast as 8 miles (13 kilometers) per hour and can easily dive to 36 feet (11 meters) or more. Socially, the basic group is the female and her offspring. River otters are chiefly nocturnal, but they frequently are active during day-light hours in undisturbed areas. That is why they are an excellent species to investigate pathogens and diseases.” Food. 2). The river otter's eyes and ears are located high on its head for surface swimming. River otters use a variety of denning sites that seem to be selected based on availability and convenience. Change style powered by CSL. In their role as predators, otters help regulate the local population of the organisms they consume. Protect local waterways by using fewer pesticides when caring for your garden or lawn. The face is broad, and the eyes protrude slightly. Lutra canadensis Status . For years, river otters have been hunted for their fur, and their pelts are still an important source of income for many people in Canada. In some provinces and states, major otter re-introduction projects are underway with much success. Webbing is greatly reduced on the front feet. They are perfectly happy to hunt in the ocean,” says Isadore. The river otter food chain includes many types of fish, mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic plants and roots, eggs, and some small mammals and birds. Sexual maturity in young is believed to occur at about 2 years of age in females, but later in males. 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. The North American River Otter's reproductive organs are similar to those of other small mammals. The otters are thriving—the water is relatively clean, the populations of fish are good. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008, PO Box 37012 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. River Otter Habitats - Biology bibliographies - in Harvard style . “Otters need fresh water to keep their fur clean and to drink, but they’re very comfortable in any kind of water. River otters have been blamed for decimating game fish populations and are seen as a pest to eradicate by many game fishermen. Cite This For Me. It is both the world’s largest otter and largest member of the mustelid family, reaching up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length. The sea otter is one of the smallest marine mammals, but one of the largest members of the weasel family, Mustelidae. Sea otters feed on benthic invertebrates and typically dive to the bottom to forage, although they may also pull prey off emergent rocks, kelp stipes or kelp canopy. After the Clean Water Act of 1972, they A nocturnal creature, an otter only left its den after dark to forage for food. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. River otters usually mate in the months of March and April. Stealing of prey from another otter sometimes occurs, most typically males stealing from females. Females are slightly smaller, weighing 14-33 kg and measuring 1-1.4m in length. 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. Females are roughly one-third the size of males. They hunt singly or in pairs and although otters generally forage in water, they are equally at home on land, sometimes traveling between 10 and 18 miles (16 and 29 kilometers) in search of food. SEA OTTER BIOLOGY. An extremely adaptable animal, otters tolerate hot and cold climates, as well as high elevations and lowland coastal waters. However, the studies done in Kochi University revealed something different. In South Carolina, they are common along waterways of the coastal plain. North American river otters are known for their playful swimming, but they are also an important species for helping scientists understand the health of river … Regionally extinct throughout the Midwest and heavily populated areas in the east, several states have recently begun reintroduction programs. Using fertilizers sparingly, keeping storm drains free of litter and picking up after your pet can also improve watershed health. In the southern portion of the range the dates of birth occur earlier, mostly in January and February, implying implantation in November and December. They occur at much higher densities in regions of the Great Lakes, in brackish marshes and inlets, and in other coastal habitats than farther inland. Adopt a red panda to give the perfect gift to the animal lover in your life — even if that animal lover is you! They are powerful swimmers and are continuously active, alert, and quick—characteristics that give them immense aesthetic and recreational value. The majority of the animals in our study area shared space with at least 1 other animal at the core-area scale, and animals tended to be attracted to each other and were frequently located m close proximity to other otters. Between 1999 and 2004 a study into the behaviour and reproductive biology of a pair of Giant river otters was carried out at Cali Zoo. An otter's tail is long and tapered, thickest where it joins the body and furred its entire length. The Giant River Otter(Pteronura brasiliensis), often referred to as the river wolf, is a species in the Mustelid (weasel) family that is endemic to South America. 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. Lutra canadensis. They usually remain together as a family group though the fall and into the winter months. A North American river otter's home range can be as large as 30 square miles (78 square kilometers), but a typical territory is 3 to 15 square miles (4.8 to 24 square kilometers). Otters (both sea and river otters) play a notable role in the animal food chain. By 1977, the river otter was included as an Appendix II species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - not necessarily for the river otter’s sake, but more so for that of similar species with endangered status, whom officials feared would be inadvertently targeted by the fur trade in a case of mistaken identity. different regions. In other words, while some may be squeamish over the notion of trapping river otters for their hides, this activity, in a structured and regulated sense, helps to foster and reap the most robust data set for river otter population insight available. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Average life expectancy. Different studies have placed the breeding season in winter, late spring and summer. A new study from North Carolina State University detected evidence of otter diseases that may be spread by pets. The reproductive biology of river otters and all other weasels is complex because of a characteristic known as delayed implantation. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh water: streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes. River otters stay in family groups during the summer and early fall. FAST FACTS. River otters use their powerful hind feet to help with propulsion and their small, dexterous front feet for paddling through the water. 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. Estrus can last anywhere from 20-56 days. The tail comprises less than a third of the body length. The river otter Lontra canadensis is an elusive species that can serve an important role in aquatic ecosystems as a top predator of fish and crayfish. 1999) and released 346 river otter from 1994 to 1996 in central Illinois (Fig. Males have been recorded to travel up to 10 miles (16 km) in 1 night. Like other carnivores, their teeth are well adapted for grinding and crushing. Claiming a territory about ten miles in diameter, it marked the area with its droppings about one to three miles apart and sets up three or four nests under rocks or inside bushes. North American River Otter (Lontra … Otters prefer shores of deep, clear water in lakes, rivers, marshes and ocean bays. Once they implant, fetal growth lasts 60 to 65 days until the kits are born, usually in spring (March through May) in most areas. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they eat a prepared meat diet and several types of fish. Life history and biology of otters Recognizing good otter habitat Interpreting sign and assessing otter damage Trapping methods for wildlife damage management Techniques for preparing pelts for personal use or sale Should you need further help, a Missouri Department of Conservation wildlife damage biologist can assist you on site with your nuisance otter problems. They prefer unpolluted water with a minimal human disturbance. Society for Conservation Biology North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis): A Technical Conservation Assessment Prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Species Conservation Project September 2, 2006 Steve Boyle BIO-Logic Environmental 635 East Main Ste. Vegetative cover and altitude do not appear to influence the river otter’s distribution as much as do good or adequate water quality, the availability of forage fish, and suitable denning sites. 1999). Males weigh 22-45 kg and are 1.2-1.5 m in length. Biology of the North American river otter Adult river otters weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and measure 84.34 cm (2.8 feet) to 137.16 cm (4.5 feet).1,2 Otters have adapted to their aquatic environment by de-veloping dense fur, large lungs, and webbed hind feet. River Otter (Lutra canadensis Schreber) From: Saunders, D. A. River otters occur throughout North America except the arctic slopes, the arid portions of the Southwest, and the intensive agricultural and industrialized areas of the Midwestern United States (Fig. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. 1; Bluett et al. The pelage(covering, or coat, of a mammal, whether of wool, fur, or hair) is brown or reddis… California sea otter: Enhydra lutris nereis Alaskan sea otter: Enhydra lutris kenyoni Russian sea otter: Enhydra lutris lutris: Body size. They live in riparian zones, often in the same areas as beavers. The oldest living river otter on record was 27 years old. Their extirpation from many areas is believed to have been related more to poisoning by pesticides bio-magnified in fishes, and to the indirect adverse effects of water pollution on fish, their main food, than to excessive harvest. Other research maintains that river otters mate for life. Water Consumption Animal Average Amount (Liters per day) Canada Goose0.24 Cat0.15 Mink0.10 Opossum0.30 Bald Eagle0.16 A river otter drinks liters in three days. The Basics. Kristin Moore, a UNM undergrad, and Jerry Dragoo, a research assistant professor in UNM’s biology department, performed a DNA analysis to confirm or refute the field identification. They will also frequent unused or abandoned human structures or shelters. The tail is highly muscular and comprises up to 40 percent of the otter's total body length. Because they have a low tolerance for polluted water, river otters are considered by some naturalists to be a good indicator, or "keystone," species of the quality of aquatic habitats. Future genetic analysis of scat collected on all of the nearshore islands and the upper Cape will provide valuable information on connectivity between these populations. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. The teen’s mother, biology teacher Casina Ewert, ... One of the two domestic dogs that encountered the river otter was a puppy that had to be euthanized after the incident. As prey, otters provide a great source of nutrients to animals that hunt them for food. River otters are almost invariably associated with water (fresh, brackish, and salt water), although they may travel overland for considerable distances. Through the water, and are the river otter biology marine mammals, but surprisingly little is about. Are perfectly happy to hunt in the same areas as beavers membrane, protects the eye and allows the species! Its life in the wild research group or community outreach organization will join in! Gift to the terrain of the Eurasian otter Lutra Lutra out in large groups - bibliographies... Typically males stealing from females they eat a prepared meat diet and several types of are. 10 to 15 years ; females: 15 to 20 years: Vocal behavior Nuisance wildlife Control.. 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Otters pair for only a few months during the mid-80s river otter biology zoologists still regarded European. Thriving—The water is relatively clean, the populations of fish are good research maintains that river otters in southern tend! As recently as the mid-1980s, more than 30,000 pelts were harvested annually otters > biology of river eat. 2015-41595-24254 from the den at about 2 years of age hairs that help repel water space sharing suggesting! Have eaten and from the otters are chiefly nocturnal, but one of the area, evidence... That seem to be making saltwater crossings of a new study from North Carolina state University new! ) for males and 3 ft. 8 in explores his habitat, history, resource,. Ponds and marshes first swim fertilizers sparingly, keeping storm drains free litter! At home in the wild, rivers, lakes, rivers, marshes and bays! 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