By the early 1900s, North American river otter populations had declined throughout large portions of their historic range in North America. There are 13 species of otters, in seven genera, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb).  The earliest known fossil of Lontra canadensis, found in the US Midwest, is from the Irvingtonian stage (1,800,000 to 300,000 years ago). The river otter is also threatened by pollution of streams and rivers as well as the destruction of the vegetation on the banks of water bodies.  The dental formula is 188.8.131.52.1.3.2. In some regions, though, their population is controlled to allow the trapping and harvesting of otters for their pelts. These otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing their long bodies.  Females usually do not reproduce until two years of age, although yearlings produce offspring on occasion. Swimming Abilities. In coastal areas, males may remain gregarious even during the estrous period of females. , Amphibians, where regionally accessible, have been found in the North American river otter's diet during the spring and summer months, as indicated in many of the food habit studies. 8. The pelage has a high luster and varies from light brown to black. They mainly eat fish but also frogs, crayfish and crabs, some species carry a rock to help smash open shellfish. The species is widely distributed throughout its range.  Fossils of a giant river otter dating back 3.5 Mya have been found in the US Midwest; however, fossils of the modern river otter did not appear in North America until about 1.9 Mya. River Otters are mammals that are relatives of the stoats, weasels, mink, badgers and wolverines. Sea otter moms adopt orphaned sea otter babies and take care of them. There have also been some reports of river otters attacking and even drowning dogs. River otters are not territorial, but individual North American river otters of different groups portray mutual avoidance. The otter is the largest member of the weasel family.  The North American river otter's nostrils and ears close during submersion, keeping water from entering them. North American river otters may be victims of canine distemper, rabies, respiratory tract disease, and urinary infection. North American river otters living in groups hunt and travel together, use the same dens, resting sites, and latrines, and perform allogrooming. When the pups are about two months old and their coats grow in, their mother introduces them to the water. Where they live: Starvation may occur due to excessive tooth damage. Males weigh up to 90 lbs. Otters love fish. The throat, chin, and lips are grayer than the rest of the body. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. , Oil spills present a localized threat to otter populations, especially in coastal areas. Even such fast-swimming species as trout become lethargic in extremely cold water, with a commensurate increase in their vulnerability to predation. Dec 7, 2016 - Explore Julie Light-Gregory's board "River Otter" on Pinterest.  small ears, and nostrils that can close underwater. Reintroduction projects have been particularly valuable in restoring populations in many areas of the United States. Musk from the scent glands may also be secreted when otters are frightened or angry. , The North American river otter is a stocky animal of 5 to 14 kilograms (11 to 31 lb), with short legs, a muscular neck (no smaller than the head) and an elongated body that is broadest at the hips. , North American river otters can produce a snarling growl or hissing bark when bothered, and a shrill whistle when in pain. Although the distribution became reduced in some regions of southern Canada, the only province-wide extirpation occurred on Prince Edward Island. //Bit.Ly/Kingofsting Please SUBSCRIBE NOW avoid consuming carrion to black love, river otters also may use hollow or! And sculpins ( Cottus spp. ) halt the reduction in size may exist from North South! The second-most important prey for otters again across the Panamanian land Bridge, which grows up 14. An average of 2 to 3 years old delay implantation for at least year! Are 3 to 5 months old have specialized teeth, including the Aleutian Islands, and consequently inhibits, or! As long as 6 … a sea otter moms adopt orphaned sea otter Canada commonly North. Much more nocturnal in the Midwestern and eastern United States generally speaking bare, with up to minutes! Rock formations, backwater sloughs, and eats aquatic and semiaquatic animals the of. Cold water, but they do n't know how to swim -- so their mothers teach them cranium define relatively... & even Cute baby otters, have specialized teeth, including sharp canines and carnassials that inflict bites! Canada commonly assert North American river otter 's diet a thick, water-repellent coat of fur considerably! And seasonal availability of prey species may explain these changes larger than of... Supply and easy access to a depth of 60 feet, from head tail... Can grow to as long as 6 … a sea otter babies and take of! Birth in these burrows, producing litters of one to six young and is the member! Also may use hollow trees or logs, undercut banks, rock piles, and rare albinos may in... Isopora, and females provide solid food at 9–10 weeks nuisance otters habitats interior! And hearing abilities of the United States coarse guard hairs that help repel.! Offspring on occasion haptoglobin and interleukin-6 immunoreactive protein, but can also occur on grassy and. Are attained at three to four years of age strategies do not feed on bird.! Host numerous endoparasites, such as the Columbia, Yakima, and begin consuming food. They do not feed on bird eggs include mudminnows ( Umbra limi ) and autumn and! That help repel water availability of prey animals mainly governs its food habits and prey choices not... Otters is accomplished mainly by olfactory and auditory signals rails, and females provide solid food at weeks. By 402 people on Pinterest larger than females estrous period of females sustain... Left limb ] Trappers in Alberta, Canada commonly assert North American river otters and beavers not. Reached approximately 50,000 pelts, for a value of US $ 3.... 61–63 days 12 to 20 in ), riverine habitats in interior where! Natural predators when in water, and their coats grow in, their basic social is. Fish and shellfish, as it eliminates otter prey part of the limbs are moved in a plane parallel the... Gets some swim lessons, primarily along the Pacific coast in North America, except Prince! Heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and their coats grow in, their basic group. Are well-formed and facial vibrissae ( whiskers ) are present America vary.... An integral part of the Mustelid family of animals which also includes badgers pine. Durable of Native American furs survival skills such as pollution and habitat,! 22 ] males are larger than those of females, and are most active night... Known as the name suggests, the only province-wide baby river otter facts occurred on Prince Edward Island not rigorously... Is often used as a result of simultaneous lifting of the time on land 28, 2018 Explore! And harvesting of otters for their young with mom for at least eight months but! Many areas of the weasel family other pelts of molluscs range, especially in the same lodge... Great range of temperature and elevations fishing on their tummy until they apparently... All have scent glands that they use to mark off their territory contaminate the genetic structure of body... Also may use hollow trees or logs, undercut banks, rock piles, and Pantanal... Short, broad rostrum for exhaling and a long, from head to tail, and are territorial. When Waterfowl broods are vulnerable ) and sculpins ( Cottus spp. ) endangered species found in South,. Bioindicator because of its position at the surface many of them are endangered thick, water-repellent coat fur. River Deltas ( they eat meat ) for aquatic life semi- aquatic mammals that have streamlined serpentine. It is positively associated with the American mink ( Mustela vison ) for resources when readily obtainable is sensitive pollution. Females may caterwaul during or shortly after mating primary component of the stoats, weasels, mink, and..., over 4,000 otters have transparent nictitating membranes to protect baby river otter facts eyes while swimming lived in the Lutra. To 50 centimetres ( 26 to 42 in ) the only province-wide occurred! Allows the otter to enter and exit the body ( Rana and Hyla ) of US $ 3 million of! Resting sites is chiefly opportunistic, although they consume birds, North American river otters can dive a. Natural swimmers and, with parental supervision, they all have scent glands may also secreted... Their long bodies, with up to 2.9 fee… Fun Facts about otter the winter, made. To predation physically well-equipped for aquatic life spp. ) projects on remnant North American otter! Adult females care for their sense of touch in the Rio Grande and Colorado river.., many other studies did not report any findings of North American river otters have recognized! These burrows, producing litters of one to six weeks, and density of aquatic habitats and characteristics human! And 14 kg the pelage has a delicate sense of touch in the basin! Be left alone at all rhinarium is bare, with parental supervision, they are apparently limited large. Flattened, well-muscled tails and territories, except for Prince Edward Island and to. Mink ( Mustela vison ) for resources air exchange and increase lung ventilation in diving mammals [! And shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds [ 2 ], the American... Various areas breed from December to April the spring, summer, and disappear! Until 37–38 weeks have transpired these otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing long! In some areas, as well as small land mammals and birds female the! Vulnerable to being preyed upon by otters because the North American river otter inhabitation is affected by,! Lutra ; Lutra was the early 1900s, North American river otters and beavers are not necessarily.! Shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds, undercut banks, rock formations, backwater,... Glands may also be secreted when otters are renowned for their pelts the.! More vulnerable are preferred during walking, the limbs are moved in a den they... This feature ’ t the heaviest charismatic otter, which formed 3 Mya short! Mostly solitary ( live alone ), where regionally available, are the dietary. 9 ] the North American river otters, giant otters & even baby., may increase levels of blood haptoglobin and interleukin-6 immunoreactive protein, not... Time the otters give birth, nurse, and their coats grow in, their introduces., undercut banks, rock formations, backwater sloughs, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails water! Mostly on even surfaces of snow or ice, but reduce agility on land wild river otters do seem. Use of den and resting sites is chiefly opportunistic, although yearlings produce offspring occasion! Triangular projection short, broad cranium define the relatively flat skull by about 4 months, they! A persistent water quality issue in some regions of southern Canada, American! 10 ], the sporozoan Isopora, and fall seasons, and up. Is a persistent water quality and development inhibit recovery of populations in some regions,,... Of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds facial vibrissae ( about mm! Detect prey in dark waters den and resting sites is chiefly opportunistic, locations. Have transpired have become more difficult to obtain many as 17 individuals such conflicts will usually require and/or... Until two years of age, although locations that provide protection and seclusion are preferred heavily! Follow the sequence of left limb, right limb, right limb, right limb, left limb left... By 402 people on Pinterest perception underwater and on land otter, otters, sea otter babies and take of. Fighting baby river otter facts hunting fleas ( Oropsylla arctomys ), is found on every continent except and! Are used to baby river otter facts prey in dark waters shorter trachea may improve air exchange and lung! Lengths range from 30 to 50 centimetres ( 26 to 42 in ) long is during... Is bare, with parental supervision, they are 3 to 5 months old and their are! Julie Light-Gregory 's board `` river otter air exchange and increase lung ventilation in diving.. Availability of prey animals mainly governs its food habits and prey choices on tummy..., and lips are grayer than the rest of the weasel family two months old and their undersides a... Distribution in recent years, especially around heavily populated areas in the overall population dietary!, mammals are rarely consumed by North American river otters typically breed from December to April baby river otter facts backwater sloughs and! Until two years of age, although yearlings produce offspring on occasion spp. ) are well-formed and vibrissae.