It has 36 teeth. In 1986, the Ohio Division of Wildlife began a seven-year project to reintroduce the species to the state. Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Common otter is the other name for this animal. Its thick, powerful tail makes up nearly 20 inches of that length. Its short, muscular legs move surprisingly well on land, and is usually seen traveling in pairs (Foresman 2012). Once abundant throughout the watersheds of the United States and Canada, river otter numbers suffered greatly due to hunting by humans. The Northern River Otter is found both in Canada and the United States. River otters possess special valves to seal their ears and noses while they swim underwater. Hendricks, C.R. Here is a to the audio instead. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Northern River Otter. Pennsylvania Game Commission: River Otter Wildlife Note, The National Wildlife Foundation: North American River Otter, The Nature Conservancy: Journey With Nature: River Otters. Habitats that retain open water in winter are i… 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. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. The ultimate river otter predators are humans. J. Dianne Dotson is a science writer with a degree in zoology/ecology and evolutionary biology. The river otter also called northern river otter belongs to the family of Mustelidae. River otters reach sexual maturity at two years. Canadian Journal of Zoology: Seasonal Diet of the Northern River Otter (Lontra Canadensis): What Drives Prey Selection? After an absence of more than a century, its … Generally solitary, river otters do engage in play when they meet. River otters may slide, chase and cavort, especially when it is time to mate. A lifelong writer, Dianne is also a content manager and science fiction & fantasy novelist. The animal slides down mud and snow seemingly for the sheer delight of it. It has a long, slender body covered in brown, water proof fur. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. River otters (Lontra canadensis) are amphibious mammals known for their swimming ability. For this reason, the river otter must consume food often. River otters can be found throughout much of the United States, Canada and Mexico around the Rio Grande and Colorado River deltas. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. Publication No. River otters can live up to about 10 years in the wild. The river otter food chain also includes aquatic plants and roots. Breeding dates not known for Montana, but probably occurs in early Spring. Underwater, the river otter swims as fast as 7 miles per hour with considerable grace and agility, necessary for catching prey. Williams, P.C. The river otter has a long, streamlined body with dense brown fur. They do live on land too but you may not see that as apparent as with other species of Otters. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. He’s trying to climb up the pipe!” It was then that the explainer in me wanted to jump in and say, actually, no. Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database. River otters belong to the weasel family. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. It can swim and maneuver better than many fish, and swims with only the top of its head out of the water. Dianne features science as well as writing topics on her website, jdiannedotson.com. They are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have access to enough food and water they can thrive. Enlarge Image . 2000. Second edition. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. The river otter is the largest member of the weasel family (Mustelidae). 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. Hart, M.M., W.A. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. Perhaps higher human-caused mortality than reported. A sea otter! Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. They use their long, agile bodies to swim and hunt for many prey species such as fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other organisms. and J.S. 289 p. Dobkin, D. S.  1992. 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