Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. So you do not need to be surprised to find an otter or two inspecting your lawn or your garden one fine day. Otters around the world have faced centuries of decline due to hunting, trapping, and habitat loss. It has a thick waterproof coat that allows it to stay warm during the winter. Their sensory perception combined with retractable claws and quick reflexes, make otters master hunters in shallow waters. Bears enter a lighter state of sleep called torpor. As we celebrate the last part of the winter season, we wanted to take a look at how different wildlife found in and around our rivers adapt to the unique season. Otters can transmit rabies to humans and pets. 1101 14th Street NW, Suite 1400 Washington, DC 20005 | Phone: ©2019 American Rivers, All Rights Reserved. They prefer living near wetlands or woods for protection and safety from predators. Its feet are webbed. What Kind of Animal Eats Erect-crested Penguins? Grizzly bears will generally wait until a snowstorm before entering their dens for the winter, so as to prevent predators from finding them, and they wake in the spring after sleeping for up to 7 months. Its throat and belly are golden or silvery brown. It has a wide, rounded head with small ears and long, white whiskers. Thank Senators Udall and Heinrich for introducing Gila Wild and Scenic River Legislation. What is the 5,000 Miles of Wild Campaign? Like most wildlife, otters may be hostile when confronted. 100% Upvoted. It is the otter species with the widest distribution, being spread widely across Europe. Giant otters are the largest of any otter in the world growing up to 1.8m. Beavers do not hibernate, so to stay warm in the winter, they add mud to the outside of their lodges so it will freeze and help insulate their homes. Otters do not hibernate in the winter and are active year-round. Otters are generally three to four feet in length and weigh between 10 and 30 pounds, depending on the species. Otters are nocturnal creatures, but they become diurnal in winter, becoming active during the day and sleeping at night. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. Photo by Andrea Westmoreland Yet unlike some of its cousins, the otter does not hiberate. Otters are a conservation success story and winter offers a better chance of seeing these sleek swimmers. Kay Curtis began writing professionally in 1988. 2. This allows them to easily access food even in the harshest of weather. Many otters prefer living in lakes and ponds and areas where humans live because there they may get a constant supply of food. Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. The cubs will remain with the parents through the first winter, but separate the next spring. Other Shelters. An adult weighs 12 to 20 pounds, which includes a 12- to 20-inch tail. They can also slide across the ice to get where they need to go. River otters do not construct their own dens but instead rely on logjams, beaver lodges, the bank dens of beaver and muskrat, and natural features, such as cavities in tree roots, undercut banks, and fallen timber, for their den sites. Otters have been known to show characteristics of human behavior, such as holding hands. The North American beaver is a large, semi-aquatic rodent. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of carnivorous mammals that includes skunks, weasels, wolverines and badgers. The dens have entrances underwater so they can be easily accessed from the water. They preen or comb each other's fur, frolic in the water, teach the young cubs to swim, toss bits of food to each other, dive to retrieve food in the water, and slide down stream banks. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Due to having large lungs and being able to slow down their heartbeat, otters can … Otters have the densest fur of any animal—as many as a million hairs per square inch in places. All otters live close to exceptionally cold fresh water or salt water. Feeding. They breathe on the surface of open water, in their dens or from air pockets lodged against the underside of the ice. Otters also have particularly stinky poop, which even has its own name: spraints. Choose the right trap There are several traps available in … River otters grow 26 to 40 inches in length, not including the tail, and weigh up to 18 pounds; males are approximately 17 percent larger than females. There are 13 different species of otters, the most well-known being the North American river otter and the sea otter. They preen or comb each other's fur, frolic in the water, teach the young cubs to swim, toss bits of food to each other, dive to retrieve food in the water, and slide down stream banks. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. 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. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. They even appear to enjoy the icy season by frolicking and remaining active. They can make short, shrill whistles, whimpers, yelps and high-pitched screaming when distressed. But our local species is on the rebound. Unlike bears, they do not hibernate in winter; rather they may sleep for several consecutive days. North American river otters do not generally handle prey of a large size relative to themselves but there are occasions where they've been observed ambushing and killing adult common snapping turtles while the large turtles (which are roughly equal in average body weight to … How Fast Can an Elephant Seal Move on Land? Most are dark brown in color, with lighter patches on their throats and chests. However, their habits change slightly when winter comes. Currently, otters have one the most valuable pelts of all of our furbearing species. The elusive otter is one of our top predators, feeding mainly on fish (particularly eels and salmonids), waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans. More on River Otters by Cindy Ross (see the article in the March/April 2014 issue) A member of the mustelid family, the river otter is closely related to the mink and weasel. According to Defenders of Wildlife, otters have the densest fur in the animal kingdom. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Empower Her. 1/3. Her news articles and columns have appeared in "The Battalion," "The Lakeshore Times" and "The Beacon." They seem to do this for fun, but it is also a way to conserve energy as they are moving through their territory. An adult weighs 12 to 20 pounds, which includes a 12- to 20-inch tail. Though some fish become sluggish, brown trout face relatively few changes. Which of the following is a cardholder responcibility in the governmentwide commercial purchase card program; Otters do not hibernate in the winter and are active year-round. Show your support for protecting portions of the Gila and San Francisco rivers as Wild and Scenic. The embryos do not begin development until about eight months later, and 50 days after that, the young are born. hide. Otters have some interesting relatives. Otters eat a variety of small aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, muskrats, and turtles. Their facial whiskers help them catch prey by sending vibrations as they float in the water. Tweet. These have hidden, underwater entrances for protection from predators, which makes them attractive to otters. Do you know how else river otters differ from their sea otter cousins? Otters are nocturnal and spend their days sunbathing, becoming active at night. The pests can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh up to 30 pounds. In winter, they spend much time in the water, which is often warmer than the air. Yet unlike some of its cousins, the otter does not hiberate. It’s one of the things … The India smooth-coated otter, giant otter, hairy-nosed otter and southern river otter have been listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. The River Otter's Adaptation to the Environment. Their fur is thick a… Besides hunters, otters' food sources are often compromised by fishermen depleting their supply. In warmer times, you may also see otters sliding down a riverbank. More on River Otters by Cindy Ross (see the article in the March/April 2014 issue) A member of the mustelid family, the river otter is closely related to the mink and weasel. In contrast to their very s… Although otters do not build them, they will sometimes use abandoned dams. If you are trying to spot otters while out on a hike around the Potomac, your best chance is at sunrise or sunset. It makes its lodges in lakes, streams, and rivers, and those are typically made of sticks, twigs, rocks, and mud. River otters eat a variety of aquatic wildlife, such as fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and reptiles such as turtles. During the summer, the swans inhabit shallow ponds, lakes, and rivers in northern Canada. Otters can have up to one million hairs per square inch.There are two layers of fur—an undercoat and then longer hairs that we can see. © 2021 WILD SKY MEDIA. River otters belong to the weasel family. What’s your favorite animal during the winter? These otters are vocal, having basic calls of greeting, alarm and mating, and up to 12 further calls. Otters are carnivores and primarily eat fish. It is mostly solitary, and only rarely do … no comments yet. Join more than 180,000 amazing people who stay up to date on news and ways they can help protect our rivers. Diet. Their homes are called "holts" and are similar to burrows. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits.They have a very high metabolism, so they need to eat frequently. The European otter, a semi-aquatic species, lives along coasts and in a wide variety of freshwater habitats. Sort by. Otters survive the winter by changing their behavior and taking advantage of their incredible fur. Otters eat a variety of small aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, muskrats, and turtles. They are very large mammals, weighing between 290 and 790 pounds. The Otter is a mammal so it hibernates. Do you know of any other wildlife that have interesting winter habits? Looking to get through winter. Be the first to share what you think! Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Their thick fur is both water-repellent and an effective insulator against temperature extremes. Lower temperatures and higher oxygen levels actually make the waters more comfortable for them, allowing them to venture into habitats that are out of their range in the summer. How Does a Platypus's Fur Help Underwater? Otters can be found on five of the seven continents: North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Choose the right trap There are several traps available in the market, used to trap otters. Otters are very playful: Don’t be surprised when you see otters happily sliding. save. It is a European branch of the weasel or Mustelidae family. According to Defenders of Wildlife, otters have the densest fur in the animal kingdom. 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 may even try to fish for food in your ornamental fish pond. While the region experienced some temperatures in the … They can dive up to 250 feet and remain in water for up to four minutes. If lakes or rivers freeze, they swim under the ice to find food. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. During the winter, ice builds up and blocks light from penetrating into the water, food becomes less abundant, and the water holds less oxygen. As the name suggests, the giant otter is the world's largest otter species and is well-known from wildlife documentaries. Grizzly bears live in northern North America, including Alaska, Washington, and Montana in the United States. Food. Aquatic plants, mollusks, and arthropods help comprise the Tundra Swan’s diet, showing how much they rely on rivers, and with many migratory birds staying in the northern U.S., it is clear that they remain comfortable in cold winter weather. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Because food is hard to find in the winter months, especially when the water is frozen over and hinders their travel, beavers stock up in the fall before the cold hits. Activity is greatest at night, but where wolverines are relatively common, sighting a wolverine during daylight hours might be expected. Otters eat 15 to 25 percent of their body weight each day and can spend up to five hours fishing for food. Find out more about this beautiful mammal. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. As a member of the Mustelidae family, it's kin to weasels, badgers, ferrets and mink. They seem to do this for fun, but it is also a way to conserve energy as they are moving through their territory. River otters feed mostly on fish but will also eat frogs, crabs, crayfish, and small mammals such as young muskrats. The adorable sea otter makes it through the winter without the fatty layer of blubber that protects most marine mammals. Through public education and awareness, most species of otters should remain safe from extinction. However, not many animals truly hibernate, and bears are among those that do not. In warmer weather, otters spend time in sociable pursuits. They uses their long whiskers to detect prey underwater. Food. The playfulness of otters is mostly … Any burrow or den taken over by these animals is called a holt. Curtis has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Texas A&M University. Answer for question: Your name: Answers. The otter is lithe and slender with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flat tail that helps propel it gracefully through water. Price often has little to do with supply but rather is generally dictated by fashion. Otters are slender, streamlined, and flexible, which serves them well for a life in underground tunnels, and waters often congested with floating debris and aquatic plants. What Is the Difference Between Otters & Beavers. report. Specializing in advertising, her work has been published in several trade magazines including "CompUSA Direct," "Dance Teacher Now" and "Travel." 0 comments. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. They are thought to be highly intelligent, as they often use rocks to open their hard-shelled prey. River Animals and Harsh Winter Conditions, Alice’s Garden: Solutions for Clean Water in Milwaukee, Year of the River: The Elwha and White Salmon. They will, however, eat crabs, birds, crayfish, frogs and even lizards. Mountain Meadow Restoration in California, Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products in Our Water, Integrated Water Management Resource Center. Especially if you have a fish pond in your garden, it is going to attract a lot of attention from the otters. It has a long tail that is thick at the base, tapers toward the tip and grows to 12 to 19 inches in length. 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