The river otter has the typical body type of a mustelid: Long and slender with short limbs. According to SeaWorld, diving river otters are able to hold their breath for up to 8 minutes before they need to resurface. How Does a Platypus's Fur Help Underwater? North American River Otters spend much of their time foraging. “. Active burrowers and hunters year-round, otters are more active at night during warmer months, and more at night during the winter season. A chunkier body would allow the otter to better retain heat but would also reduce its agility in water and therefore its hunting efficiency. The otters are very agile in … Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at East Stroudsburg University in May 2013. Physiological adaptations are internal body processes that make an animal better suited to certain environmental challenges. This post was kind of my practice for that outing – for thinking about each species’ winter adaptations. 1) are best known for their continuous and playful behavior, their aesthetic value, and the value of their durable, high-quality fur.They have long, streamlined bodies, short legs, and a robust, tapered tail, all … Otters reach sexual maturity between two to three years of age. (I got the idea that embryonic diapause in some mustelids may be a winter adaptation from Rebecca Watters, author of the Wolverine Blog, when she presented in Massachusetts in January, 2020. North American river otters have adapted both physically and behaviorally to survive the long, cold winters of North America. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. Lifespan is 13 years in the wild, and up to 25 years under human care. As a result, babies are usually born in March in cold climates. The glands produce a very strong, musky odor. On the contrary, they are active and appear comfortable – nay, joyful – in the snow. River Otter Adaptations Concepts Animals have body parts suited for their lifestyle and habitat. Learn more about these playful animals that were once rare in the Commonwealth. River otters (Lutra canadensis, Fig. North American river otters are likely the most numerous of the otter species. Amphibious, muscular river otters swim gracefully and quickly underwater to catch prey, and they can run on land. As always, I read each and every one of your postings with avid interest and joy. Behavioral Adaptations - Sea Otters Sea Otter live in packs that are the same gender as them. The most obvious physical characteristic that allows the river otter to cope with extreme cold is its dense, virtually waterproof fur coat. They live alone or in small . Male river otters ignore females and young through most of the year. The weight of a North American river otter measures around 5 – 14 kg (11 – 31 lb). They often have a circuit they travel along rivers and lakes which takes them up to a week or more to complete. Likewise, I enjoy your photography on facebook! However, water pollution, uncontrolled trapping and severe habitat loss have reduced the number of river otters. Old beaver lodges are a popular choice. A layer of fat sits below the slick coat, providing the otters with added insulation. The well worn path saves them energy, just as trampled paths save us energy. Awesome video! River otters defend their territories by marking, scratching, and occasionally fighting. River otters are able to travel on land at speeds of up to 29 miles per hour, according to SeaWorld. What Kind of Adaptions Does a Dolphin Have? However, that streamlined physique is also an asset: it lends efficiency to aquatic hunting. So presumably it’s a balancing act. For example, the otter’s ability to live singly or in groups may have evolved because it allows the animal to to better exploit food resources in general, and it just happens to boost winter survival in cold climates. A recent trail camera video I captured at an otter latrine got me to thinking about river otter winter adaptations. Encouraged me to think more about winter adaptations of other creatures. North American river otters will eat frogs, turtles, snakes, insects, small mammals and birds whenever this type of prey is readily available. To function in a dual environment, river otters have evolved several important adaptations that help them to thrive. Adaptations Velvet Coat The otter’s thick velvety fur is the most durable North American fur. 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. Genetics; Phylogeny/Evolutionary History; Physiology; Expirements; Life cylcle; sources; UNIQUE ADAPTIONS. Giant otters are more social than river otters, but separate groups tend to avoid each other. Description The playful North American river otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living. Empower Her. • Determine which otter body parts and adaptations are not necessarily related to life in … North American River Otter Lontra canadensis . The new litter of young will not begin to develop until late in the fall. Identification. The adult male weighs around 11.3 kg (25 lb); while the female weighs up to 8.3 kg (18 lb). Your email address will not be published. Avoidance is a very significant factor in river otter social behavior. they are eight to 12 months old or until a new litter arrives. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. Be Her Village. A really cool behavioral adaptation is cooperative foraging. Feel free to share them in a comment below. You can see an example of an otter sliding near the end of the video above. Now let’s consider the shape of its body. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) occurs in streams, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, and marine coasts. Like many other mammals, otters make use of sheltered spaces to keep warm. This animal’s lovely waterproof pelt, which allows it to regulate its temperature, in the 1700s-1800s, a regular part of French fur trade, has meant this animal has been hunted for hundreds of years. HTML tags allowed in your comment:
. The glands produce a very strong, musky odor. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician. River otters (Lutra canadensis, Fig. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. This tail serves to propel the otters through water. River otters generally live along rivers, as their name implies, but they're also found near streams and lakes.Otters prefer water bordered by woods and with wetlands, such as marshes, nearby. Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. Otters have short powerful legs with webbed feet. This ensures that a female will not be burdened with young offspring during winter. JAVASCRIPT IS DISABLED. They seek streams and rivers where water does not freeze, and in ponds where water does freeze, they maintain holes in ice. Otters are members of the weasel (Mustelid) family. River otters have a fast metabolic rate -- almost 50 percent faster than similar-sized land mammals, according to SeaWorld. I am not sure if the winter coat is any thicker than the summer coat, but whether or no, the exceptionally dense undercoat keeps the otter warm and dry enough to hunt in icy cold water. She enjoys writing about health, medicine, education and home and garden topics. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Mammal. I’m glad you found it useful. I often wish I could hold my breath like an otter! That body type, with its high surface area to volume ratio, does not retain heat well, and poor heat retention is a liability in winter. Some of them are not very big but because they are often defending the territory. The North American river otter's body is built for streamlined swimming. The otter needs to be slender and streamlined enough to hunt successfully but not so slender that the animal cannot get enough calories to keep warm. These features enable river otters to swim up to 9 miles per hour. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. At one time, North American river otters were found throughout much of the United States and Canada. Glad to hear that, Lynn. Some might take issue with my calling some particular phenomenon a winter adaptation if it evolved for some other reason, and only happens to be of benefit during winter. © 2021 WILD SKY MEDIA. Camera trapping and wildlife tracking. River otters are extremely social and often frolic in the water with their mates or cubs, slide down hills on their bellies or wrestle with other otters on land. The river otter is a semi-aquatic mammal found throughout Massachusetts’ lakes, rivers, and coastal habitats. Therefore, animals with long, slender bodies have to eat a lot to keep warm. The aquatic mammals have several biological adaptations that have enabled them to inhabit several environments successfully. It has a stocky body, short legs, webbed feet, and a long tail. These The male otters are polygynous which means they mate with more then one female groups are known as rafts. Behavior: North American river otters have a reputation as very friendly and playful animals. River otters belong to the weasel family. River otters tend to be solitary and fairly territorial. River otters can also close their ears and nostrils using valve-like flaps to keep water out while swimming and diving. The North American river otter (Lutra canadensis) is found in almost every state, including Virginia. Your email address will not be published. They are well adapted for swimming, with their streamline bodies and valved ears and nose. River otters are underwater acrobats that are known for their social and playful behavior and have been observed sliding down slippery slopes for fun. In the wild, river otters live up to eight or nine years. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. Please enable JavaScript on your browser to best view this site. Adult males may be solitary, but sometimes group together in “clubs” and may benefit each other similarly. My pleasure. They can hold their breath for up to eight minutes. Think about what you’ve seen while tracking otters, imagine what it’s like to be one in winter, and see what ideas pop into your head. Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. It is recognized by its powerful neck and elongated body. Hi Lori! Avoidance is a very significant factor in river otter social behavior. In between bodies of water, they travel overland on well-used paths, often during the day in winter. Thanks Becky! North American, spot-necked, smooth, and marine otters in North American zoological facilities mate during winter and spring. Shape The World. Once a rare sight in Massachusetts, the otter … This particular species of otter is not classified as endangered at this time, but habitat loss could be an ongoing concern. Going to imagine being an otter today. • They remain active in winter, using ice holes to surface and breathe. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. These animals do not wait out the cold months in hibernation. 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