My pleasure. How Does a Platypus's Fur Help Underwater? Your email address will not be published. Glad to hear that, Lynn. This makes intuitive sense because the mink, a generalist which takes prey on land and in water, spends more time in water than either the bobcat or the fox, but less time than the otter. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and … What Kind of Special Skills Does the Polar Bear Have? An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Adult males may be solitary, but sometimes group together in “clubs” and may benefit each other similarly. Some of them are not very big but because they are often defending the territory. ... Adaptations & Behavior. HTML tags allowed in your comment:
. Sea otters breed throughout the year. River Otter Adaptations Concepts Animals have body parts suited for their lifestyle and habitat. A chunkier body would allow the otter to better retain heat but would also reduce its agility in water and therefore its hunting efficiency. North American river otters are the only river otter that is found north of Mexico. Please enable JavaScript on your browser to best view this site. Objectives Students will be able to: • List at least 3 otter body parts that make this animal well-adapted to its aquatic habitat. The species occurs broadly across much of North America and is considered reasonably secure overall. Giant otters are more social than river otters, but separate groups tend to avoid each other. Lifespan is 13 years in the wild, and up to 25 years under human care. Because of constant flooding in Brazil, which causes the movement of giant river otters from one territory to another, it's also said to be the most adaptive (Pickles et al. They also scent mark using paired scent glands near the base of their tails or by urinating/defecating on vegetation within their home range. The river otters' fur and layer of fat underneath their fur assists in slowing heat loss while swimming. These features enable river otters to swim up to 9 miles per hour. To travel better in water, river otters developed adaptations such as four webbed feet and a propeller-like tail. family groups. This is important because river otters lose heat quickly in water, so they must constantly burn energy to replace lost heat. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Males may breed with more than one female during the year. Mating Behavior. 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. ? Below is an example of otter slides in Minnesota. Though habitat loss and food availability may force otters to migrate elsewhere, they will usually stay put in the same areas from year to year. River otters tend to be solitary and fairly territorial. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Thanks Becky! River otters are underwater acrobats that are known for their social and playful behavior and have been observed sliding down slippery slopes for fun. 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. River otters have a fast metabolic rate -- almost 50 percent faster than similar-sized land mammals, according to SeaWorld. Without the additional energetic demands of pregnancy, her own chances of surviving winter are enhanced. This process, known as delayed implantation, enables the fertilized eggs to mark time within her, receiving only sparse ration to stay aliv… River otters live up to 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. The glands produce a very strong, musky odor. 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. 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. The species occurs broadly across much of North America and is considered reasonably secure overall. Habitat/Diet . (Have you read Bob Arnebeck’s online post entitled: “Otters Breaching Beaver Dams?” He cites Reid, Herrero, and Code, too, plus adds his own interesting observations. River Otter Facts. Thank you for these wonderfully informative and entertaining efforts. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. It’s probably for these reasons that the otter depends on a thick, waterproof coat and excellent hunting ability instead of a layer of blubber to keep warm. I often wish I could hold my breath like an otter! Adaptation . Young stay with their mother through their first winter. What Kind of Adaptions Does a Dolphin Have? Empower Her. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. They seek streams and rivers where water does not freeze, and in ponds where water does freeze, they maintain holes in ice. Active burrowers and hunters year-round, otters are more active at night during warmer months, and more at night during the winter season. When traveling on land between waterways -- especially during the winter when water solidifies into ice -- river otters depend on their feet pads to provide traction when running or sliding. The river otter food chain includes many types of fish, mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic plants and roots, eggs, and some small mammals and birds. This post was kind of my practice for that outing – for thinking about each species’ winter adaptations. In between bodies of water, they travel overland on well-used paths, often during the day in winter. Encouraged me to think more about winter adaptations of other creatures. The otter can close its nostrils and ears under water, and uses the sensitive whiskers around its snout to help locate prey. In contrast to the European otter, the North American river otter has a longer neck and narrower face. 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. Constantly on the move, riv… 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. Since they are semiaquatic mammals, river otters spend time both on land and in water. North American river otters are semiaquatic mammals that do not hibernate when winter comes around. Therefore, animals with long, slender bodies have to eat a lot to keep warm. Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. 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. Thermoregulation and Metabolic Rate One thing the river otter must do is care for that warm, waterproof coat. They can hold their breath for up to eight minutes. © 2021 WILD SKY MEDIA. Employing a variety of two-limb, four-limb, and tail-propelled paddling strokes, otters are proficient swimmers. Your email address will not be published. The new litter of young will not begin to develop until late in the fall. Male sea otters set up territories in female areas, and attempt to mate with any female that enters their territory. North American river otters have adapted both physically and behaviorally to survive the long, cold winters of North America. They vocalize with whistles, growls, chuckles and screams. The North American river otter's body is built for streamlined swimming. Camera trapping and wildlife tracking. Physiological adaptations are internal body processes that make an animal better suited to certain environmental challenges. I’m glad you found it useful. These semiaquatic mammals also developed fur on the bottoms of their feet, which provides them with warmth and better traction. The North American river otter is a member of the weasel family. North American River Otter North American river otters. The most obvious physical characteristic that allows the river otter to cope with extreme cold is its dense, virtually waterproof fur coat. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. About North American River Otters. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) occurs in streams, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, and marine coasts. River otters defend their territories by marking, scratching, and occasionally fighting. Perhaps because I’ll soon be leading a Winter Field Ecology program, I thought I’d think this through systematically. Trackers are familiar with slides and runs. A really cool behavioral adaptation is cooperative foraging. Hi Lori! One physiological phenomenon in river otters that may in part be a winter adaptation, is delayed implantation of embryos. Once a rare sight in Massachusetts, the otter … • They can hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes. Sharing a den with her helps them keep warm, hunting with her helps them meet the increased caloric demands of maintaining body temperature in a cold environment, and mutual grooming helps them keep those dense, warm coats in good condition. 2011, Rosas et al. Shape The World. 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 … Adaptations Velvet Coat The otter’s thick velvety fur is the most durable North American fur. Going to imagine being an otter today. Their fur is thick a… 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. They are well adapted for swimming, with their streamline bodies and valved ears and nose. Because they are at the top of their food chain, they have few predators. Thank you!! This was a very interesting !I enjoyed learning through both venues, the video and written article. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. River otters are able to travel on land at speeds of up to 29 miles per hour, according to SeaWorld. The North American river otter (Lutra canadensis) is found in almost every state, including Virginia. While swimming in the water Avoidance is a very significant factor in river otter social behavior. They now live primarily in the north-central and north-western United States, and various parts of Canada. The female mates in the spring shortly after giving birth to two to four young (or she might skip a year). Their most noticeable ability is swimming. What Adaptations Help Elephants Keep Cool? Be Her Village. Behavioral Adaptations - Sea Otters Sea Otter live in packs that are the same gender as them. Mating takes place in early spring, but embryos remain dormant and free floating in the uterus for 8-9 months, before attaching and developing. North American River otters make their homes in underground burrows near waters’ edges. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. This hair helps "water-proof" them and keep them warm. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. River otters belong to the weasel family. When river otters are not playing or swimming in water in search of food, they spend a lot of time on land grooming and resting. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. This one was taken with a Browning Spec Ops Advantage, which I love. Avoidance is a very significant factor in river otter social behavior. Let’s take a closer look. Cannot wait to join you on the 1st! One thing the river otter must do is care for that warm, waterproof coat. They have a short thick undercoat for warmth and … This is also called embryonic diapause. It is very well adapted to life in water. An overly chunky body would also make an otter more awkward on land, and therefore at greater risk of becoming another predator’s victim. Behavior: North American river otters have a reputation as very friendly and playful animals. Perhaps she will correct me if I did.). This is an important adaptation because the mother, having reached adulthood, is already a “success” and therefore more important to the gene pool than her young, many of which die before reaching adulthood. … Northern River Otters are born with many innate behaviors. 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. Due to habitat loss and fur-trapping practices, the number of river otters has declined. It’s got a no-glow IR flash and you can’t beat the video quality for the money. Educational programs and blog. North American river otters have adapted both physically and behaviorally to survive the long, cold winters of North America. Enjoy the video which prompted me to write this post, and then read on. North American river otters have been listed as endangered or threatened in several states but have not been listed for protection under the United States Endangered Species Act. Interesting Facts: • North American river otters can dive to depths of 60 feet. or behavioral adaptations: River otters are able to withstand the cold waters and weather because of their coarse fur hair. At about 585 hairs per square millimeter, river otter fur is approximately 10 times denser than bobcat fur and red fox fur. However, water pollution, uncontrolled trapping and severe habitat loss have reduced the number of river otters. North American River Otters Sliding & Gliding. River otter reaches a … they are eight to 12 months old or until a new litter arrives. Hunting opportunities may be diminished after freeze up, but otters have ways of dealing with this. About Our Animals: The Zoo currently houses three river otters. I hope I haven’t misrepresented her thoughts. As suited as the North American river otter is to its riparian habitat, these mammals were once considered a conservation concern. They often have a circuit they travel along rivers and lakes which takes them up to a week or more to complete. Otters reach sexual maturity between two to three years of age. In the wild, river otters live up to eight or nine years. The river otter is a semi-aquatic mammal found throughout Massachusetts’ lakes, rivers, and coastal habitats. (Biokids) River otters have been known to hunt at … The river otter has the typical body type of a mustelid: Long and slender with short limbs. Space under logs or roots or in dense vegetation are sometimes used, as are abandoned burrows of woodchucks or other animals. These features enable river otters to swim up to 9 miles per hour. A little disclaimer before I start. A layer of fat sits below the slick coat, providing the otters with added insulation. ... Adaptations & Behavior. It’s interesting to note that the density of the mink’s fur is about 290 hairs per square millimeter, which is intermediate between the otter and the two terrestrial predators. Like many other mammals, otters make use of sheltered spaces to keep warm. I often wish I could hold my breath like an otter! Finally, otters save energy in winter by sliding on ice and snow in an efficient movement pattern that looks much like swimming. 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. Learn more about these playful animals that were once rare in the Commonwealth. River otters also have long whiskers that help them search for food and avoid obstacles while swimming underwater. B. North American River Otter Lontra canadensis . Clawless otters are relatively social. The aquatic mammals have several biological adaptations that have enabled them to inhabit several environments successfully. A fast metabolic rate requires river otters to eat frequently during the day. They can also move quickly on land. North American, spot-necked, smooth, and marine otters in North American zoological facilities mate during winter and spring. A recent trail camera video I captured at an otter latrine got me to thinking about river otter winter adaptations. Genetics; Phylogeny/Evolutionary History; Physiology; Expirements; Life cylcle; sources; UNIQUE ADAPTIONS. The adult male weighs around 11.3 kg (25 lb); while the female weighs up to 8.3 kg (18 lb). The glands produce a very strong, musky odor. To travel better in water, river otters developed adaptations such as four webbed feet and a propeller-like tail. Behavior/Reproduction North American river otters very vocal, and the animals use a variety of calls to communicate. 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