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In Pennsylvania, otters occur in every major river system and are absent only in watersheds with significant water-quality problems. Length. Males generally have larger home ranges than females. NatureServe, 2008. They are presumed extirpated in New Mexico and population status in South Carolina and Florida has not yet been reviewed. offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) Disclaimer: Otters are more social than their wolverine, badger, and weasel cousins. Giant otters (genu… Some are used to strengthen social bonds, to practice hunting techniques, and to scent mark. "NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life version 7.0" The animal slides down mud and snow seemingly for the sheer … Oxford University Press. North American River otters make their homes in underground burrows near waters’ edges. The fur is dark brown to almost black above and a lighter color ventrally. Range and habitat. North American river otters are important predators of fish and aquatic invertebrates. Reader's Digest North American Wildlife. that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle). In Canada, they can be found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be extirpated. Topics The young are weaned at about 3 months old and begin to leave their mother at 6 months old. (On-line). The North American River Otter is considered to be Least Concern as it is not currently declining at a rate sufficient for a threat category. Populations were once extirpated through many parts of their range, especially around heavily populated areas in the midwestern and eastern United States. North American river otters have been hunted for many years for their attractive and durable fur. These otters normally hunt at night, but can be seen at all times of day. That home range shrinks drastically during breeding … Despite these large ranges, river otters are only slightly territorial and generally practice mutual avoidance. fertilization takes place within the female's body. Active burrowers and hunters year-round, otters are more active at night during warmer months, and more at night during the winter season. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is delighted to welcome a new otter into its fold. Otters range throughout most of North America, north of Mexico. Otters were locally extirpated from portions of their range but reintroduction and conservation efforts have helped stabilize populations. Prints of North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) on snow covered bank, reflected in icy water... #20363762 Framed Prints, Posters, Canvas, Puzzles, Metal, Photo Gifts and Wall Art Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th ed, Vol II. 3 – 4 ft. Conservation Status. Males often breed with several females, probably those whose home ranges overlap with their own. Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream). The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Taxon Information River otters are also valued as a game species and furbearer (Melquist et al. Ellis, E. 2003. River otters also eat "trash fish" that compete with more economically desirable game fish. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. The belly fur is a little lighter than that on the rest of the body, and the throat area is white. Despite receiving a conservation status of “least concern”, across much of its natural range the North American River Otter is becoming an increasingly rare sight to see. Sexual maturity is reached at 2 to 3 years of age. Northern river otter populations are still considered vulnerable or imperiled throughout much of their range in midwestern United States and the Appalachian mountains. Otters are stll an important source of income for many people in Canada and the western United States. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. These whiskers are used extensively in hunting, as smell, vision, and hearing are diminished in the water. Many "play" activities actually serve a purpose. Today, a large number of otters are found in the United States and Canada. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. In the 1983-84 hunting season, 33,135 otters were taken with an average selling price of $18.71 per pelt. Pgs 1135-1137. It weighs about 20 to 25 pounds. 1995. at http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. Almost all North American River otters live in wetlands close to bodies of water. They are born with fur, but are otherwise helpless. The feet have claws and are completely webbed. 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. Otters belong to the Mustelidae family of carnivores, which includes wolverines, minks, ferrets, badgers, and weasels. North American river otters seem to be sensitive to pollution and disappear from areas with polluted waters. (NatureServe, 2008). Weight ranges from 5 to 14 kg. River otters are the residents of North American inhabiting across coastal and waterways in the Atlantic States, Gulf of Mexico, Canada, and Pacific Northwest. Clean water supporting fish and other aquatic life is the foundation of good otter habitat. By James Burton on April 25 2017 in Environment. Their scientific name, Lontra Canadensis, means “Canadian Otter”. 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 also use touch and communicate through posture and other body signals. 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 Encyclopedia of Mammals. North American River Otter Lontra canadensis Range. While otters prefer to dine on slow-moving fish (which are easier to catch), they will also eat game fish, crustaceans and mollusks, aquatic reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and smaller semi-aquatic mammals as availability dictates. Pg. An extremely adaptable animal, otters tolerate hot and cold climates, as well as high elevations and lowland coastal waters. North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) Description & Range: The river otter is the largest member of the weasel family (Mustelidae). Although pregnancies only last around 2 months, female otters often practice “Embryonic diapause”, wherein they delay sperm implantation for 8-10 months. Equinox (Oxford) Ltd. Pgs 125-129. 1984. a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation. Otters are playful animals, often seen burrowing through the snow, sliding through mud and splashing in the water. 11 – 30 lbs. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. Convergent in birds. North American river otters build dens in the burrows of other mammals, in natural hollows, such as under a log, or in river banks. Like all wetland animals, otters are facing increasing danger from habitat depletion and fragmentation due to human development, such as road construction, housing subdivisions, and unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices. Otters usually hide and launch surprise, lunging attacks on their prey. Body length ranges from 26 to 42 inches and weight ranges … The sides of the face are tan. Help us improve the site by taking our survey. Typical habitats include lakes, rivers, marshes, and coastal shorelines. Threats. Although largely exterminated in the Midwest, reintroduction programs are helping river otters … Eurasian otter - Wikipedia Reported sightings of sea otters in the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound almost always turn out to be North American river otters, which are commonly … and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Synapomorphy of the Bilateria. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. 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. On average, otters range from 36 to 50 inches long from their head to the tip of the tail. young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. Bogs have a flora dominated by sedges, heaths, and sphagnum. gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate), body parts are source of valuable material, © 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan. Water pollution, including strip mine runoff, industrial waste and sewage, has made some Pennsylvania streams, lakes and river… They are able to live in a variety of different habitats, including rivers, lakes and large creeks. They have wide, rounded heads, small ears, and nostrils that can be closed underwater. (NatureServe, 2008). North American river otters also inhabit the forested regions of the Pacific coastin North America. The river otter is … 2003).River otters historically inhabited every major watershed in the contiguous United States and were extirpated from much of their historical range … The North American river otter is the most numerous of the otter species. This otter differs from the North American river otter by its shorter neck, broader visage, the greater space between the ears and its longer tail. 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 begin to leave their natal range at from 6 months to a year old. North American River otters typically do not have life partners, and may mate with several partners in a season. 68. an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity. The fur is dense and soft, effectively insulating these animals in water. Prey is eaten immediately after capture, usually in the water, although larger prey is eaten on land. Births occur from November to May, with a peak in March and April. They may eat smaller kills in the water, but bring larger ones to shore. Females give birth to, nurse, and care for their young in a den near the water. North American river otters are found anywhere there is a permanent food supply and easy access to water. North American river otters are important parts of healthy, aquatic ecosystems. the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline. Northern river otters are listed in Appendix II of CITES. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico. l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock.com By Tom Hale 30 Nov 2020, 20:04 North American river otters occur throughout Canada and the United States, except for areas of southern California, New Mexico, and Texas, and the Mohave desert of Nevada and Colorado. Fish; Crayfish; Crabs; Frogs; Birds’ eggs; Birds; Turtles; Weight. This includes a wide range of habitats, from rivers, streams and creeks, to coastal … a wetland area rich in accumulated plant material and with acidic soils surrounding a body of open water. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female. 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