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STATUS: Poorly known. Chin and stomach are reddish yellow, tinged with gray. A river otter can dive up to 60 feet and swim 7 miles per hour. Current status of populations unknown. The North American River Otter’s scientific name is Lontra canadensis. River otters live 21 to 25 years in captivity. Otter’ly Amazing Facts. Their basic social unit consists of an adult female and her offspring. Habitat : Alaska and most of Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes and most states along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. 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. Key Information: This is the smallest of the world’s otters, about 0.9 m long, weighing around 5 kg. Scientific Name North American River Otter: Lontra Canadensis Distribution and Habitat Geographic Range. Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis. Otters are highly susceptible to water pollution, including oil spills. Mollie, who was obtained from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in Florida, and Otto, who was sent to us from a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Arizona. Otter births occur most frequently in March or April. Females are roughly one-third the size of males. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The North American River Otter occurs in freshwater habitats including rivers, lakes and swamps. 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. Additional Information: North American River Otters, typically just called “River Otter”, are energetic, playful creatures that are curious about their world. MRC 5516 Otters are sexually dimorphic, with males about 5% larger than females. North American river otters breed between December and April. They have very dense, usually brown fur, with a long tail and webbed feet for swimming. The taxonomy of otters puts them as the L Canadensis species. Pups grow rapidly and emerge from the den at about 2 months of age. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. White-tipped hairs are common in older otters. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. North American River Otter North American river otters. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. Organize or attend a stream, river, lake or other waterway cleanup in your area to preserve aquatic habitats for local species. Offspring venture out on their own before their mother gives birth to her next litter. In the wild, their average life span is 8 or 9 years. The North American River Otter lives in ‘riparian’ zones. Lontra canadensis Category. Classification : Mammal. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Otters reach sexual maturity at 2 to 3 years of age. Otters are playful creatures, frequently seen sliding down riverbanks or burrowing through snow. Scientific Name. The otters typically capture prey in their mouths but occasionally use their thumbs and forepaws to grasp and manipulate prey. The taxonomy of otters puts them as the L Canadensis species. Natural History The North American river otter (Lutra canadensis) is found in almost every state, including Virginia. The classification it falls under is Mammalia. Because they are at the top of their food chain, they have few predators. In contrast to the European otter, the North American river otter has a longer neck and narrower face. Lutrinae Bonaparte, 1838 – otters : Genus: Lontra Gray, 1843 – river otters : Species: Lontra canadensis (Schreber, 1777) – North American River Otter, Nutria-de río norteamericana, northern river otter, loutre de rivière, river otter, nutria norteamericana, nutria del Canada, loutre de Canada, common otter : Direct Children: Subspecies Now more than ever, we need your support. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). Due to habitat loss and fur-trapping practices, the number of river otters has declined. River otters live in many different kinds of water throughout North America, including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and coastal shorelines and marshes. The North American river otters are currently behind-the-scenes. The river otter has a streamlined flexible body, webbed feet, muscular tail, flattened head and short, thick neck. In captivity, North American river otters can live into their 20s. North American river otter. Description. North American river otters are social animals. As recently as the mid-1980s, more than 30,000 pelts were harvested annually. Like other members of the weasel family (Mustelidae), river otters have long streamlined bodies with short legs. Scientific Name. These are their social hubs, like going to the drive-in or mall. When threatened or frightened, they emit a hair-raising scream that can be heard up to 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) across the water. While eating and resting otters often hold hands; Otters Scientific Name. The river otter's life expectancy is 10 to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity. The river otter's eyes and ears are located high on its head for surface swimming. River otters have been blamed for decimating game fish populations and are seen as a pest to eradicate by many game fishermen. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. North American river otter * Adopt Me. It belongs to the weasel family and its subfamily is the Lutrinae. North American river otters are semiaquatic mammals that do not hibernate when winter comes around. North American river otters are found throughout Alaska, Canada and the contiguous United States. River otters leave scent marks on vegetation within their home range. North American river otters reach sexual maturity at two years of age. North American river otters live near permanent watersheds throughout North America, from Alaska and northern Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico. Legs short, but powerful; all four feet webbed. Head is small and round, with small eyes and ears; prominent whiskers. Adopt a river otter. North American river otters weigh 11 to 31 pounds and range from 26 to 42 inches long plus a 12 to 20 inch tail. They will play with stones, sticks, and make slides in snow and mud. In warmer months, they are most active between dusk and dawn. These otters are frequently observed playing and sliding together. North American River Otter. Conservation efforts were put in place and otters were reintroduced, increasing their population. It can weigh up to 30 pounds and as long as 60 inches long when fully grown. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. Typical habitats include lakes, rivers, marshes, and coastal shorelines. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family. Probably present statewide in association with rivers, creeks, and lakes, especially open water bordered with wooded habitat. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. A third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, protects the eye and allows the otter to see when swimming underwater. What is the scientific name for an otter? The classification it falls under is Mammalia. 4. 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. They have delayed implantation of the embryo in the uterus which makes the gestation period appear very long, ranging from 9-12 months; this delayed implantation is rare in otters although it is common in the mustelid family as a whole. They remain as a family unit for seven to eight months or until the birth of a new litter. While river otters tend to live alone or in pairs, they often socialize in groups and are known for their playful behavior. Almost all North American River otters live in wetlands close to bodies of water. Otters enjoy a variety of habitats but spend most of their time in or near streams, rivers, lakes and marshes. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. North American River Otter. North American river otter * Adopt Me. Protect local waterways by using fewer pesticides when caring for your garden or lawn. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. River otters use their tails as rudder while swimming. Although largely exterminated in the Midwest, reintroduction programs are helping river otters reclaim part of their original range. The River Otter (Lontra canadensis) has a muscular body, short legs, webbed feet and rich brown fur. That home range shrinks drastically during breeding and rearing season. Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis. Check the conservation status of the animals you hunt and use methods that don’t impact other animals. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. 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. Low Conservation Concern. These river otters are also a carnivorous mammal belonging to the Mustelidae family, and were first described in 1777 by the German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber.. Main Characteristics River otters eat mostly aquatic organisms, including fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles, insects and some small mammals. In the 1800s, trapping and the fur trade reduced their numbers. I. Taxon. They spend a significant portion of the day scent marking territory by urinating, defecating, scratching and rubbing their scent glands on rocks and trees. 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. Their long, agile bodies enable them to quickly twist , turn, roll and dive, and they are frequently seen sliding or burrowing in the mud or snow. Although they bear the name ‘River Otter’, these otters will readily take to marine habitats as well. Otters have sharp claws on their feet to catch prey. North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a large (1.3 m), heavy-bodied member of the weasel family that is distributed throughout Canada and the U.S., though it has been extirpated from many areas in the interior U.S. River otters are subject to predators and disease, but human activities are their greatest threat. While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Scientific Name North American River Otter: Lontra Canadensis Distribution and Habitat Geographic Range. Description. Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis : Conservation Status: Common : River otters are furry little animals that are members of the weasel family. North American river otters are semiaquatic mammals that do not hibernate when winter comes around. However, river otters are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) because the species may become endangered if trade is not closely regulated. The North American river otter occurs in much of Canada and the United States, except for portions of the Southwest, and in Mexico in the Rio Grande and Colorado River delta areas. A semiaquatic mammal primarily endemic to North America, the river otter is actually a close relative of the weasel and shares many of the same habits and physical characteristics. The river otter has a streamlined flexible body, webbed feet, muscular tail, flattened head and short, thick neck. Classification : Mammal. Using fertilizers sparingly, keeping storm drains free of litter and picking up after your pet can also improve watershed health. Fascinating Arctic Fox Facts (Vulpes lagopus), 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T12302A21936349.en, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American River Otters. The river otter is Minnesota's largest aquatic carnivore that lives in most northern Minnesota lakes, ponds, and streams. Females give birth and raise their pups without aid from their mates. It can swim and maneuver better than many fish, and swims with only the top of its head out of the water. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. However, water pollution, uncontrolled trapping and severe habitat loss have reduced the number of river otters. Around 50,000 North American River Otters are killed each year by legal trapping throughout the … The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. It has a stocky body, short legs, webbed feet, and a long tail. North American river otters can reach a length of 3.9 ft and weigh 3 lbs. Embryo implantation is delayed. 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. North American River Otter North American river otters. Description. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds. Sighting one can be an exciting occasion for boaters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts because of the creature’s secretive nature and relative rarity in some waters. The otter closes its nostrils and small ears when submerged. We hope you will join us in this important work. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. Gestation lasts 61 to 63 days, but young are born 10 to 12 months after mating, between February and April. An extremely adaptable animal, otters tolerate hot and cold climates, as well as high elevations and lowland coastal waters. The male otter is generally chased away until the young are weaned and old enough to leave the riverbank, at which time they may return and help raise the pups. 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. Males also group together. Fandom Apps Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) became one of the major animals hunted and trapped for fur in North America after European contact. Their scientific name, Lontra Canadensis, means “Canadian Otter”. The American river otter is a graceful and beautiful addition to many North Carolina rivers. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. The Zoo is Helping River Otters. So much so, that Massachusetts has an "Otter River". Conservation efforts were put in place and otters were reintroduced, increasing their population. The Zoo is Helping River Otters. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they eat a prepared meat diet and several types of fish. By the early 1900s, river otters had declined throughout large portions of their historic range in North America. For the most part, the species population is stable and otters are being reintroduced into areas from which they vanished. It has a long, slender body covered in brown, water proof fur. River otters exhibit a variety of vocalizations, ranging from whistles and buzzes to twitters, staccato chuckles, chirps and growls. Description. Behavior: Social, they often live in groups including a mother and pups or small groups of all males. Northern River Otters. Identifying Features. Instead of “water closets,” North American river otters like to poop in piles near the water, called latrines. The North American River Otter lives in rivers, lakes and wetlands all over New England. Find resources to engage learners in grades preK-12 with science, the natural world, wildlife and conservation. Sadly, most are threatened with extinction. What is clear is that there is a delayed implantation of nine to 11 months, with actual gestation taking about 60 days. The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as thenorthern river otteror thecommon otter, is asemiaquaticmammalendemicto theNorth Americancontinent found in and along its waterways and coasts. Additionally, as industrialization polluted water and water management re-routed rivers, otter numbers suffered further losses. On land they walk, run, or slide across surfaces. Scientific Name. The American river otter is a graceful and beautiful addition to many North Carolina rivers. Tail long and slightly tapered toward the tip with musk-producing glands underneath. It can weigh up to 30 pounds and as long as 60 inches long when fully grown. The oldest living river otter on record was 27 years old. They also receive mice, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, clams, crayfish, dry kibble, crickets and live fish for variety and enrichment. River otters use their powerful hind feet to help with propulsion and their small, dexterous front feet for paddling through the water. Other research maintains that river otters mate for life. Wild otters typically live 8 or 9 years, but may live 13 years. Each pup weighs about 5 ounces. As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums will temporarily close. Adopt a river otter. River otters are very sensitive to environmental pollution. The otter's ears and nostrils close underwater. The River Otter is three to four feet long with sharp claws, a slender body and it has a diamond shaped nose. Weaning occurs at 12 weeks. Adult river otters weigh 10 to 33 pounds (4.5 to 15 kilograms) and are about 2.5 to 5 feet (76 to 152 centimeters) in length. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008, PO Box 37012 A North American river otter is capable of breeding once it reaches about two years of age. Female otters prepare dens that they keep scrupulously clean. River otters are carnivores that hunt fish, crustaceans, frogs, salamanders, waterfowl and their eggs, aquatic insects, reptiles, mollusks, and small mammals. Range. Facts about North American River Otter, "Scientific name for River Otter is Lontra Canadensis". The North American river otter is a member of the mustelid or weasel family that can be easily identified by a stout body, short legs, noticeably tapered tail and dense, short, glossy fur. They weigh about 4 to 6 ounces (113 to 170 grams) at birth and measure 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 centimeters). There is evidence that river otters' play activities strengthen social bonds, improve hunting techniques and scent mark territories. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. North American river otters are likely the most numerous of the otter species. River Otters live in Canada, Alaska, and continental United States. The North American river otter (Lutra canadensis) is found in almost every state, including Virginia.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. Food: Otters are seafood lovers, with fish, mussels, crayfish, frogs, and other aquatic species all on the menu. Mammals. They now live primarily in the north-central and north-western United States, and various parts of Canada. They prefer unpolluted water with a minimal human disturbance. Adopt a red panda to give the perfect gift to the animal lover in your life — even if that animal lover is you! Lontra canadensis Category. They often live … While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. In contrast to their very s… You can be an incredible ally for conservation! In the wild, these otters are solitary, except during mating season or when females are raising young. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Natural Habitat. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. Recent research, however, indicates that otters prefer slower moving, easier to catch fish, such as suckers and catfish found along river bottoms, and pose no threat to game fish. They were once considered endangered in Illinois, but due to cleanups of our rivers and streams they have made a come back, and no longer are threatened. SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lontra canadensis. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. River otters stay in family groups during the summer and early fall. Different studies have placed the breeding season in winter, late spring and summer. Although called river otters, their name is somewhat misleading. North American river otters suffered great loss to their population, in the 20th century, due to habitat loss and water pollution. River otters are excellent swimmers. The North American river otter is a member of the mustelid or weasel family that can be easily identified by a stout body, short legs, noticeably tapered tail and dense, short, glossy fur. Like coyotes, otters often were depicted as “trickster” characters in Native American folktales and mythology. 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. 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. It also lives on rocky coastlines in Alaska, California and British Columbia. They may travel as much as 26 miles in a single day. There are 13 individual species of otter that range from the Sea Otter of the North Pacific Ocean to the Asian Small-Clawed Otter. Most are dark brown in color, with lighter patches on their throats and chests. ABBREVIATION : LOCA COMMON NAMES : northern river otter North American river otter Canadian otter land otter fish otter TAXONOMY : The scientific name of the northern river otter is Lontra canadensis Schreber (Lutrinae) [25,26]. The North American river otters are currently behind-the-scenes. Otter pups are born with fur, but are blind and toothless. However, it differs from weasels due to its webbed feet, powerful tail, and water-repellant fur. 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