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They have also suffered from habitat destruction and water pollution. Female otters in the California region can weigh up to 60 pounds, while males can weigh up to 90 pounds. River otters also reach sexual maturity earlier and are typically able to reproduce sooner than sea otters. Here’s what I do: Read More about “I think we should work together.”…. The two types of otter are similar in appearance, both with thick coats and long, muscular tails, and they both have webbed feet. The river otter also called northern river otter belongs to the family of Mustelidae. Almost never found on land. I'll share a video below, you can also find several on Youtube. Get monthly (ish) updates via email from Don Enright. On average, river otters have two to three pups per litter with the pups going off on their own after about six months to a year. Sleek fur and skinny profile. Ocean Conservancy is a 501(c)3 – Tax ID #23-7245152 – Donations are 100% tax-deductible as allowed by law. Otters vs Beavers. Short tail. I LOVED IT AND SO DID MY 8 yr-old BROTHER!!! I've not found any good reason for this ritual, but it makes me laugh. The otter is a member of the order Carnivora. Found in both saltwater and freshwater, a river otter lounges around riverbanks and swims with its belly down, keeping the majority of its body submerged below the water. Periodic messages. The video is excellent, too. Additionally, sea otters spend the vast majority of their lives in the water, while river otters spend most of theirs on land, venturing into the water for tasks like hunting for food and traveling. River otters have brown or grey fur on top with a lighter underside. Your email address will not be published. River otters will achieve maturity between the ages of two and three, while female sea otters mature between ages three and five, and males even later between ages five and seven. River otters love to swim face down and their body facing into the water. An otter is any of the 13 living species of semiaquatic or aquatic mammals. Both kinds of otters: A furry bundle of awesome. If you’re on a river in the middle of the North American continent, far away from any seaboard: it’s a river otter. Msg & data rates may apply. A sea otter’s fur is denser than a river otter’s, but all species spend most of their time grooming their fur so it maintains its ability to insulate the animal in water. Avoidance is a very significant factor in river otter social behavior. Fluffy fur and husky profile. It weighs around 5 – 14 kg (11 – 31 lb). Thanks Don – great blog. Fluffy fur and husky profile. 59. Tracks are usually at least 2cm wide (wider than your thumbprint). Not to worry, friends. The late great Nyac, a survivor of the Exxon Valdez. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Text STOP to 69866 to stop receiving messages. For a change. They go wherever the fish are: ponds, lakes, rivers, lagoons, and right into the ocean whenever they want. Don’t worry about responding. Photo credit: Christine Roper. All otters have very flexible bodies. Today I saw two large river otters make their way past my house down the rock stairs, across the lawn and disappear into the raging creek at the bottom of our property. They figure mom will allow them to see people in May http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/calgary-zoo-celebrates-birth-of-otter-pups-1.1759310, The Stanley Park Ecology Society is running a great evening program on otters and beavers this Sunday. It was then that the explainer in me wanted to jump in and say, actually, no. In Brazil's Pantanal wetlands, four giant river otters encounter a caiman crocodile.This video is being managed by Newsflare. Both of these animals spend lots of time near rivers and streams and they can even eat some of the same foods, like crayfish. My name is Don Enright. Also found along the west coast of Scotland. Both otters and beavers were exposed to uncontrolled trapping for their pelts in the 19th and 20th centuries. http://stanleyparkecology.ca/ai1ec_event/water-loving-otters-beavers-2/?instance_id=632. Identification. Amazing as we are over a mile from the ocean. There they were: our four young otters were at a drainage culvert, which they had discovered could be used to provide safe passage under the seawall, upward, under the road and into the forest. You otter know: It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week! We have river otters in front of our place and they are such fun to watch, but why do they have to poop on land? In this part of the world, sea otters are found on the west side of Vancouver Island, never here in the Strait of Georgia. We’re dedicated to working with indigenous communities, legislators, scientists and people like you to advocate for science-based solutions to protect this fragile ecosystem. Featured Videos Related Why Hundreds of Sea Otters Died in the Pacific Watch a Family of Otters Fight Off a Crocodile. So glad you shared your otter escapade! Thanks! After 20 minutes I saw an otter pop it's head up. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Sea otters rarely venture on land, where their movements are awkward and clumsy. As a result, they have disappeared from many of their former haunts. Next, the tail of a sea otter is short and flattened; a river otter’s tail is long and pointed. Giant otters are more social than river otters, but separate groups tend to avoid each other. It’s a pretty logical assumption, isn’t it? While sea otters use their two webbed hind feet and tail to propel them through the water, the four webbed feet of river otters are what enable them to swim efficiently. – but our river systems still require extensive habitat management to restore them to a healthy level that can sustain fish stocks and wildlife. Whether you’re sailing the coast of the Pacific Northwest or hiking the riverbanks of West Virginia, you now have the tools to tell the difference between river otters and sea otters. Both types of otters need their coats to form a layer of insulation that traps air to keep them warm, and they certainly need it when areas like the Pacific dip to chilly temperatures that are often between 35° and 60° (and even lower than that as you move up the coast toward Alaska and Canada)! Nice write up Don! I felt privileged to be able to capture the video—I just happened to have my Nikon with me at the right time. This is because river otters are not as experienced as sea otters. River otters like to slide around, while sea otters spend most of their time swimming in the water, but they both have plenty of predators to worry about. I’m a compulsive explainer. I will google it ;). THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!! Otter Madness. Long, serpentine tail. Clawless otters are relatively social. Almost always swim in a dog paddle, almost never swim on their backs. We have been seeing them (or one of them, can’t be sure) on the shore of Seneca Lake, of the Finger Lakes, New York. Every spring when I visit Yellowstone, it's a tradition to hike to Trout Lake to search for river otters. The beaver is a … River Otter vs Beaver: The thick coats of these animals have been their downfall. Both otters have their own adorable way of caring for their young and making them feel at home, too. I'll be integrating your little tid bits into the Beavers and Otters walk I'm doing this Sunday in Stanley Park. It reminds me a bit of when a friend asked me (when we were living in Edmonton) why there were "seagulls" in the prairies. River otters keep their young safe by their side and in dens that they build on riverbanks, while sea otter moms typically keep their pups nestled on their stomachs as they float until they are old enough to swim on their own. Text HELP to 69866 for more information. We wonder how he or they survive, what they live on, etc. Sea otters live in large colonies, but river otters tend to stay in small family groups. Read More about “What is interpretive planning?”…. They even have the adorable habit of floating on their backs, even while they’re eating, and have been known to hold hands with each other while sleeping so they don’t drift apart from their pals! River otters spend most of their life inland and only go to the waters to find prey. ... sea otter pup floats on its back. The gait of sea otters on land is somewhat clumsy, but river otters can sprint short distances at high speed. Please check your inbox or spam folder now to confirm your subscription. From their curious faces to their charming behaviors, the otters of the world have earned the title of many nature lovers’ favorite creatures. Browse 1,487 river otter stock photos and images available, or search for north american river otter or giant river otter to find more great stock photos and pictures. While the females are similarly much smaller than the males at 10-20 pounds, male river otters only reach a maximum size of around 30 pounds. Awesome article, thanks! You know, they really appear to love everything they do. Our ocean faces many threats like the onslaught of ocean trash, overfishing and ocean acidification. Despite the tediousness often associated with river otter trapping, those that are detail-oriented can utilize any one of several time-honored trap sets to catch otters wherever they frequent. Everyone who sees them on the lakeshore thinks they are irresistible. SEA OTTER (Enhydra lutris) In California, sea otters are most often seen around Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough. Almost always swim in a dog paddle, almost never swim on their backs. Sleek fur and skinny profile. The river otter has a long, streamlined body with dense brown fur. 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 of … Male sea otters set up territories in female areas, and attempt to mate with any female that enters their territory. Common otter is the other name for this animal. I got out my camera and started getting some video. X. First, sea otters are two to three times the size of river otters — and, when at the water’s surface, they float on their backs, while river otters swim belly down like most animals. In contrast, the agile river otter is frequently ashore. Big, black, triangular “teddy bear” nose. They hung around for about 5 minutes and then swam off. River otters defend their territories by marking, scratching, and occasionally fighting. Their swimming mechanisms are also a little different. I write about interpretation and visitor experience. River otters (Lutra canadensis, Fig. This morning, for example. They had just had a very successful fishing trip and were busily devouring a bunch of little flounders or sand dabs. However, we noticed a conundrum that many readers seem to get themselves into. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Otter spraints are messy smudges with a distinct, not unpleasant smell, and contain bones and fish scale remains. The River otter is associated with river, lake, pond or marsh habitats, but may make extensive overland excursions from one such habitat to another. Like sea otters, river otters also display thickest furs that ensure a limited heat loss. In 2005, my wife and I worked as research technicians on a river otter project in Missouri. It may seem obvious, but if all else fails—the fastest way to tell what type of otter you’re observing is to examine its environment. River otters grow 26 to 40 inches in length, not including the tail, and weigh up to 18 pounds; males are approximately 17 percent large… A sea otter! Wait, let me explain: I have worked as an interpretive naturalist for a very long time, and I really love what I do. Tilly found a new home and family after being orphaned as a 2-month-old pup. Meet a man whose roommates are a pair of river otters. enhydra lutris. 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. They have small heads, with long necks and shoulders. When it comes to having pups, one fact that distinguishes sea otters from river otters is the number of pups they have per litter. River otters tend to be solitary and fairly territorial. Eventually, four of them swam off down the shore, and a few minutes later, Tom and I saw a bunch of people gathered at the edge of the sea wall, clearly interested in something. Sea otters are twice the size of river otters, and are never far from the ocean. Please try again or contact 1.888.780.6763. River otters are considered among the more social members of the mustelidae family. - river otter stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images. Otters and Humans Relationship. I never sell or share my lists. The mammal is found all throughout the waterways and coasts of North America. Yes, it's a real thing. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. River otters keep their young safe by their side and in dens that they build on riverbanks, while sea otter moms typically keep their pups nestled on their stomachs as they float until they are old enough to swim on their own. We were treated to a family of six river otters in the bay just off Second Beach in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. These two different animals have their key differences, but one thing is for sure: they’re all still otterly loveable wildlife all the same! Otters are really, really smart. There is still hope that one day humans and Otters will be able to live in harmony. But instead, I held back and listened to the conversation, thinking back to ten years ago or so when I first saw river otters in the ocean. If you travel further north to areas like the Alaskan seaboard, you could even find males weighing up to 100 pounds! I tried to explain that they were just gulls, and that the term "seagull" was invented to apply to those gull species that frequented the sea … you see? If you spot an otter in the Chesapeake Bay, it’s a river otter, whereas if you spot one in Monterey Bay (especially in the water), the chances are high that it’s a sea otter. But river otters never got the memo about being river otters. I, too, assumed that sea + otter = sea  otter. Article by Jordyn Dominguez. We work with parks and museums and science centres and aquariums, to help them plan and produce their programs and exhibits. Unlike their river otter cousins, sea otters spend almost their entire lives in … River otters also have long, muscular tails unlike their sea counterparts. I’m a freelance interpretive planner and visitor experience advisor: I work collaboratively with parks, historic sites, museums, aquariums and other organizations to help bring their stories to life. River otters live near rivers and other sources of fresh water. … In comparison to other otter species, sea otters are somewhat stockier with larger ribcages. 7-30-18 I saw a rustling in the thick weeds when I was out in our lake. They have dense short underfur, which is covered by darker, coarse hairs that help to repel water. River otters: Dark brown. Thanks again! 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. Habitat: Otters can be found beside rivers, streams and lakes, mostly in north and west England and Wales. Usually around mid-June visitors begin to see otters at the lake with relative frequency. Sea Otter hanging around in Bull Kelp of the West Coast of BC. Otter anal jelly (Photo: K. McDonald) River otters sometimes dance when they poo. Yay! The Onion once ran a wonderful headline: “Black lab has best day of his life for 862nd day in a row.” You could easily apply that to river otters. Many people don’t know the difference between sea otters and river otters — but, with a little info, you’ll be able to tell right away. Big, black, triangular “teddy bear” nose. This flexibility allows them to groom almost every inch of their fur. They’re even known to wrap their babies in kelp to keep them safe and warm while they’re off hunting, and as the Marine Mammal Center describes, these pups end up bobbing up and down on the surface of the ocean like little corks! Its feet are webbed. Trout Lake is historically the most reliable spot to see otters in the park, but the best time is generally in early summer, not spring. Very often swim on their backs. Here’s the little guy at the culvert, just after his three siblings have disappeared into it: Your writing style is engaging and entertaining. Sea otters are perfectly adapted to living in their cold water environment here off the west coast of British Columbia. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! Sea otters: Dark brown with a much lighter head. Gerry Lunn Exactly except those that frequent bays… you know what those are called. As I filmed, I listened to the people’s reactions: “Oh look! At least, not yet; they are slowly recovering from being nearly completely wiped out by the marine fur trade in the early colonial period, and if all goes well for them (and it isn’t going all that great at the moment, apparently) we may see them back here in a few years. Occasionally we see them in the SF Bay Area. It has a wide, rounded head with small ears and long, white whiskers. Sea otters are not nearly so versatile. I really enjoyed this. Great vid and article. These are river otters. Raccoon and river otter scat (feces) can look very similar. One thing many people don’t realize is just how much larger sea otters are compared to river otters. It’s without a doubt that otters are some of the most adorable mammals to ever grace the planet. Sorry, but we failed to add you to the list. Man, they know how to have fun. Sea otters aren’t only heftier than river otters—their fur is also quite distinguishable. Animals And Pets Baby Animals Funny Animals Cute Animals Baby Giraffes Wild Animals Otters Holding Hands Holding Hands Quotes Otter Love. If you seek to achieve success when trapping river otter, check out the following sets that reduce misses and put more fur in your trap shed. I was just at dogbeach at Vanier Park and 5 “river otters” swam by, stopped to watch the idiot labradors, inluding mine, chasing balls. With the help of donors like you, Ocean Conservancy is developing innovative solutions to save our ocean. Ocean Conservancy, International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Action Network, Trash Free Seas, Trash Free Seas Alliance and Rippl are registered trademarks of Ocean Conservancy. Anyway. When it comes to distinguishing between river otters and sea otters…well, what is the difference, anyway? Its throat and belly are golden or silvery brown. I was rooting so hard for that little guy. Marine & Freshwater Environmental Education. Sea otters’ have the densest fur in the entire animal kingdom with up to one million hairs covering each square inch of their body. Are both types of otters in the same family? Sea otters typically give birth to only one pup, and care for their young until they become independent around eight months to one year old. Male river otters ignore females and young through most of the year. Share Link. Thanks for signing up for Ocean Conservancy emails. (and it isn’t going all that great at the moment, apparently), http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/calgary-zoo-celebrates-birth-of-otter-pups-1.1759310, http://stanleyparkecology.ca/ai1ec_event/water-loving-otters-beavers-2/?instance_id=632. If you look closely at river otters, you’ll notice that they have short, coarse fur made up of two layers: one for keeping them warm, and another ‘waterproof’ one outside of that. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Land Behavior. We know it can get otterly confusing to differentiate the species, so here are five ways to tell them apart! While members of both otter subtypes love to swim, the swimming behaviors they engage in are quite distinct. River otters typically have slender, streamlined, serpentine bodies. So glad he made it in there. Hence, their swimming skills are not as great as the sea otters. For that to occur though humans need to accept responsibility for what they have done over the course of time. Yet they are vastly different animals, and even come from different orders. Long, serpentine tail. That’s a sea otter, yo. The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter.African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. Meet a man whose roommates are a pair of river otters. So when I’m out for a walk, just minding my own business enjoying the fall colours, and something fantastic happens, I tend to kick into explainer mode. Clawless and giant otters have similarly shaped bodies. Sea otters, conversely, are found only in salt water and rarely go on land. Required fields are marked *. It has a long tail that is thick at the base, tapers toward the tip and grows to 12 to 19 inches in length. River otters are very messy eaters—but they really appear to love eating. Learn how your comment data is processed. The last little guy of the group was having a heck of a time getting into the culvert and was starting to get pretty stressed about being left behind by his siblings. The future of many species of Otters has almost been destroyed due to selfishness on the part of humans. They travelled the 125 feet from the back of our property in no time at all and in the 35 years I have lived here in west Vancouver I have never seen them in the creek or on the land. One of the rituals that river otters are known for is something called the "otter poop dance." Sea otters: Dark brown with a much lighter head. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). They are 95% aquatic and spend pretty much their entire lives in kelp beds just off the sea shore a kilometre or two. Your email address will not be published. Love your writing style. On the surface, at first glance, there may not seem like much of a difference between otters and beavers. River otters: Dark brown. Terms and Conditions. As their name suggests, sea otters live mainly near the sea, spending most of their time in the water. Don't know if you know or not but Calgary has had a pair born. Thank you for solving this mystery. Finally, river otters can dive to around 60 feet deep, whereas sea otters, remarkably, can dive to several hundred feet to forage for food. Run easily on land. Well hello Réjeanne! These otters have muscular and streamlined bodies, short legs, and webbed feet with non-retractable claws. Have I mentioned how much I love otters? This is however different to the river otters. Tilly found a new home and family after being orphaned as a result they. On a river in the 19th and 20th centuries that help to repel water sexual maturity earlier and never... On, etc somewhat clumsy, but this is exceptional a result, they have small heads, long! C ) 3 – Tax ID # 23-7245152 – Donations are 100 % tax-deductible as allowed law. Could even find males weighing up to 100 pounds so hard for that little guy inhabit every county the.! ” the otters of the North American river otter has a wide, head. Is because river otters of little flounders or sand dabs 's head up tradition to hike to Trout to! 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