As with their habitats, it is also easier to list locations you cannot find otters. They will use dens made by beavers, muskrats, or woodchucks. Range and habitat. Do you know how else river otters … They live in a den by the edge of a lake, stream, or marsh. River otters can be found throughout North America. Habitat and Diet: River otters live in aquatic habitats -- streams, rivers, lakes, and freshwater and saltwater marshes. This animal must be provided with plenty of swimming space, as well as sufficient area on dry land to play and snooze. The Potomac River is home to one of the most adorable aquatic animals- the river otter. Otters are great hunters, partially because they have sharp little teeth and a strong jaw! All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. River otters do however; do what they need to keep other animals out of their territory. River otters have many interesting qualities and … However, through conservation management and reintroduction efforts, populations have recuperated and are now considered stable. By land and by sea. The species of otter that occurs in Ireland is called the Eurasian otter and is found in Europe and across Asia to China and Japan. They will feed on fish, invertebrates, frogs, clams, crayfish, and small mammals or birds. It lives only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems. An average adult male weighs about 11.3 kilograms (25 lb) against the female's average of 8.3 kilograms (18 lb). It occurs between southeastern Alaska and British Columbia. River otters are rambunctious, aquatic, streamlined mammals that spend much of their time in the water. Humans have hunted otters for centuries. Some even wonder if otters build dams like beavers. The only continents without otters are Australia and Antarctica. Read on to learn about the otter. In the central basin, they are apparently limited to large rivers, such as the Columbia, Yakima, and Walla Walla. Basically, they can be found anywhere they have easy access to both land and water. A Sea Otter's life - Big Blue Live: Episode 2 - BBC One Otters are not kept as pets because they need special conditions to live a healthy life, but there are many otters that live in captivity (in research centers, zoos etc. About one-third of the animal's total length consists of a long, t… They enjoy the freshwater but they are also known to live in the saltwater of the oceans as well. They can also reach 25 years of age in captivity. Otters are found almost all over the world and in many wet habitats, such freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines and marshes. But our local species is on the rebound. In Canada, they can be found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be extirpated. Scent Communication. As with their habitats, it is also easier to list locations you cannot find otters. In Ireland the otter population is geographically widely spread. River otters thrive outside of water too, and can sometimes be seen playing in snow or sliding down muddy hills. River otters are found along rivers, streams, and lakes and also in estuaries, coastal bogs, and large marine waterways such as Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh water: streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes. This article will refer to the twelve species of river otter, information about sea otters can be viewed here. You can commonly find them living in beaver dams. Where do otters live? These have hidden, underwater entrances for protection from predators, which makes them attractive to otters. River otters can be found throughout North America. Located in the Rocky Mountain Trench, this area features extensive wetlands that are perfect for river otters. The otters deposit their … In South America, the otter-record holder lives in length and weight among representatives of the subfamily – the giant, or the Brazilian otter. Otters around the world have faced centuries of decline due to hunting, trapping, and habitat loss. River otters eat virtually anything that you can find near lakes or streams. They have long bodies, and long whiskers that are used to detect prey in dark waters. Females aren't nearly as mobile. 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 are prized for their thick, luxurious coats, known as pelts. Known for their playfulness, otters are found all over the world including the UK. River otters can measure up to 1.4 metres in length from nose to tail, and weigh up to almost nine kilograms. Otters have frequently been seen making slides in the riverbank, and zipping along them. They live in holes in river banks called holts; a holt will have a few different entrances to protect against flooding, with at least one entrance being above water level. Otter species can be found across Eurasia, Africa, India, Japan, Indonesia, North America, South America, and Central America. It is much easier to list the habitats that river otters don’t live in than to list the areas they do. Be advised that any attempt to poison an otter is considered illegal, and would cause complications anyway once the bait has been consumed. In California, its north-south range is from San Mateo County to the Santa Barbara. In other regions the otter shares aquatic habitats with species specialised to different habitats such as sea otters, but in Ireland the otters that live at the coast and those that occupy our rivers are the same species. In warmer times, you may also see otters sliding down a riverbank. Adult males live along large stretches of river, often up to 40 to 50 miles. The 11 species often referred to as river otters are found throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia in freshwater ecosystems that sustain an abundance of prey such as fish, crayfish, crabs, mussels, and frogs. © 2020 Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) | ™ Trademarks owned by The Nature Conservancy of Canada. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Animals.NET aim to promote interest in nature and animals among children, as well as raise their awareness in conservation and environmental protection. River otters live alone or in pairs. In Canada, they can be found in every province and territory except Prince Edward Island, where they appear to be extirpated. [8] Form and function. The Alaskan (or northern) sea otter inhabits northwest part of the United States. 0. Most species of otters are born in a den of some kind, either a tunnel or abandoned beaver dam. Otters seek clean rivers, filled with food and overgrown banks where they can raise their cubs. River otter populations declined significantly throughout the late 1800s due to over-harvesting and water pollution. One example is NCC’s Cherry Meadows property, near Kimberly, British Columbia. The sea otter, however, rarely comes ashore, according to the San Diego Zoo. 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. Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. In zoos, otters are fed a meat-based commercial carnivore diet, fish, carrots, yams, potatoes, crayfish, and worms. They live in riparian zones, often in the same areas as beavers. After two months, the female otter teaches the full-sighted pups how to swim. They are able to live in a variety of different habitats, including rivers, lakes and large creeks. Eurasian otters will generally live anywhere that has a source of unpolluted fresh water with a sufficient food supply. They have scent glands at the base of their tail, and they deposit their musky scent on their dung, which is called spraint. River Otters prefer to live near bodies of water such as lakes, large rivers, and streams. Whether it’s a lake, river, swamp or estuary, otters like a mix of land and water. The fishermen in Bangladesh have bred and raised smooth-coated otters for generations. Most otters live in dens — built by other animals, such as beavers — that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. Terrestrial predators of otters include black bears and a variety of Feline and Canine species, domestic… This South American otter is the world's largest, at some 6 feet long. This may sound disturbing, but is successful. This can include rivers, canals, lakes and wetland areas. 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. Most otters live in dens — built by other animals, such as beavers — that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. River otters are aquatic mammals but they do travel across land as well. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. River otters are able to hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes. They spend much of their time playing with one another and building social bonds. They will cover the area in their feces, urine, and musk to warn others away. However, between the 1950s and 1970s, their numbers significantly dropped, prompting conservationists to sound the alarm bells for one of UK’s beloved animals. Otters are found on every single continent in the world except for Australia and Antarctica. Submitted by: Billybob River otters are aquatic mammals (2004) Where: Otter Country. This playful mammal is making a splash across Canada. They are trained to chase fish into the fisherman’s nets, and are rewarded with part of the catch and a safe home. Its body length ranges from 66 to 107 centimetres (26 to 42 in). Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. Most river otters are opportunistic, feeding on … Their underbody is usually lighter in colour. This species does not hibernate and remains active under frozen water by breathing through breaks in the ice. The most famous and common otter is the European, or ordinary river otter, inhabits North Africa, Europe (besides Switzerland and the Netherlands) also Asia, not meeting only on the Arabian Peninsula. Cubs will stay with and remain dependent upon their parents for over a year. Otters are found almost all over the world and in many wet habitats, such freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines and marshes. The range of the California (or southern) sea otter extends from California to Mexico. Along the Texas Gulf Coast region, otters also live in marshes, bayous, and brackish inlets. There are 13 different species of otters living around the world. P.S. Although otters do not build them, they will sometimes use abandoned dams. Also, it is illegal in most states to own an otter. After a few bumps, they can slide up to 22 feet on the ice. They have brown, water-repellent fur, webbed feet and long tails. All are cousins of badgers, weasels, minks, ferrets, wolverines, and polecats. Their home ranges are only 3 to 10 miles depending on habitat quality and the time of year. The ones in this story are North American river otters. European otter – As the name suggests this species is found in Europe and extends across parts of Asia and North Africa. However, the animals are different in many aspects of their habits and appearance. They use their long whiskers when swimming underwater to feel for the movement of their prey. Please do not trap live otters and then drown them, as it is considered illegal in many states and is a painful way for any animal to die, which can last anywhere up to eight minutes. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. Their burrows are typically found near water and are often built to be accessible both from on land and in the water. River otters use their scent to mark their territorial boundaries. July 6, 2018. 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. This group of animals is notorious for being adorable, but they are so much more than looks! They are intelligent creatures that require lots of enrichment and positive reinforcement-based training to keep them happy and healthy. At a year old, the young otters can survive on their own, and often venture off to make their own families. Other places you will find them lingering include around rivers, streams, and lakes. Water whereabouts. Otters are expert swimmers and divers and unlike beavers or muskrats, the otter only makes a small ripple when swimming. Where do otters live? Although they are able to reproduce annually, it is more likely for this species to give birth every two years. 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. Otters live in water, in dens or nests. In water, especially along the Gulf Coast, crocodilian reptiles are real threats. These hydrodynamic members of the weasel family are voracious predators. Most otter species are social, living in groups consisting of a mother and her various generations of pups. North American River Otter The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. All photos used are royalty-free, and credits are included in the Alt tag of each image. ). Otters are wonderfully skilled predators, who display a number of interesting behaviors and traits. River otters breed between late winter and early spring. Their favourite habitats include wetlands, rivers and coastlines. They can thrive in any water habitat, such as ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, and estuaries—in cold, warm, or even high-elevation areas—as long as the habitat provides adequate food. Sea otters are found in two areas: The Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, and along the central California coast. Photo by Andrea Westmoreland. River otters need healthy aquatic habits to survive. The pups are born blind and spend the first month of their lives in their dens with the female. River otters live in clean rivers, lakes, and marshes—wherever they … Any animal with teeth can bite, but otters are particularly “munchy,” and should not be handled in any way. River otters are most active at night. When they are around one month old the pups begin to explore their den, and at two months old they learn to swim. Otters thrive on land and in the water. They are said to play pranks on people when they shape shift, often involving the otter turning into a beautiful woman. Because these critters are secretive and shy animals they were commonly captured using traps or hunting dogs. They sometimes live along the coast, but they still require fresh water nearby. Otters seem to be used as a symbol for tricksters, similar to the use of foxes in other folklore. [8] However, they normally live about 8 to 9 years in the wild, [14] but are capable of living up to 13 years of age. The males will often form bachelor groups, and separate from their mothers. 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. Female otters give birth to between one and six pups. Japanese culture tells a number of tales involving otters, many of them involving shape shifting. The only continents without otters are Australia and Antarctica. This allows them to feed even in murky waters. Long whiskers help them find fish, clams, insects and other aquatic animals. The North American river otters can live for up to 21-25 years in captivity. One fun fact is that River Otters don’t dig their own dens, they either use a natural hollow or burrow made by another animal. Their tiny ears close under water, and their thick fur helps keep them warm in cold water. Hello world! They are able to live in a variety of different habitats, including rivers, lakes and large creeks. North American river otter – This species is found throughout much of Canada and parts of the United States. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. Sea otter – This species lives on the Pacific coast of the North American continent. This makes them poor pets. Though still considered rare, the species is widespread in the UK and can be seen in almost every county. North American river otters live an average of 21 years of age in captivity, [14] but they can reach 25 years of age. The mother (and sometimes the father as well) will care for the pups. They prefer to live in marshes and along wooded rivers and streams with pools and overhanging rocky banks. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) continues to protect habitat across Canada where river otters live. In winter, when an otter's den or nest freezes over, the otter will look for a new river to live in. 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