River otters reach sexual maturity at two years. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. Habitat loss and water pollution also took detrimental tolls on river otters. Alaska's Sea-Otter Decline Affects Health of Kelp Forests and Diet of Eagles. River otters' diets consist largely of crayfishes, crabs, and other aquatic invertebrates; fishes; and frogs. Individual otter scats were soaked for 24–48 h in a mixture of denture cleaner (Efferdent, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Morris Plains, New Jersey) and water and then agitated to separate mucilaginous material from undigested prey remains ( Berg 1999 ; Conroy et al. Their high metabolisms result in rapid food digestion. of food daily. Sea otters dive to the ocean floor to retrieve food. Take a closer look at these encyclopedia books including information about animal habitats, behavior, and scientific classification. They use their long whiskers when swimming underwater to feel for the movement of their prey. River Otter Adoption $ 100.00. In South America, the neotropical otter preys on small fishes, while the giant otter preys on larger species. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. They dive after prey to catch it, then swim to shore again, where they eat. In Thailand, the ranges of at least three otter species overlap. Typically such dens are makeshift, from log piles or similar natural sources, but often they will use former beaver or nutria dens as well. Classic River Otter Adoption Celebrity Adopt an Otter! Fish dominated the annual diet, being found in 91.9% of River otters can live up to about 10 years in the wild. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(7):2242-2247; Laustsen, Paul. River otters can be found throughout much of the United States, Canada and Mexico around the Rio Grande and Colorado River deltas. Fish are a favorite food, but they also eat amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. These mammals have whiskers, which they use to spot their prey by detecting vibrations in the water. Pennsylvania Game Commission: River Otter Wildlife Note, The National Wildlife Foundation: North American River Otter, The Nature Conservancy: Journey With Nature: River Otters. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! River otters help thin invasive species and protect biodiversity. They catch prey with their teeth. The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, crabs, crayfish, turtles, frogs, large beetles, worms, injured waterfowl or chicks, bird eggs, fish eggs, snakes and snake eggs. River otters consume both aquatic animal and plant life, with some exceptions. When cornered on land, they will fight and scratch. Canadian Journal of Zoology: Seasonal Diet of the Northern River Otter (Lontra Canadensis): What Drives Prey Selection? Sea otters eat about 25% to 30% of their weight. Regardless of its playful nature, the river otter is still a carnivore that feeds on other animals. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. 1996. They have also been known to eat aquatic plants and to prey on other small mammals, such as muskrats or rabbits. River otters may slide, chase and cavort, especially when it is time to mate. Food preferences vary among individuals. The Toucan Rescue Ranch has rescued various neotropical river otters. Spatio-temporal variation in the diet of river otters (Lontra canadensis), however, is not well understood.In addition, we have limited knowledge about seasonal changes in otter activity at latrine sites and how these changes may relate to changes in otter diet. Young river otters prove to be the most susceptible to predators. Despite concern that otters compete with game fishers, the fishes that otters consume are mainly non-game species. A sea otter's diet consists mainly of slow-moving fishes and marine invertebrates including crabs, sea urchins, abalones, clams, mussels, and snails. She spent nine years working in laboratory and clinical research. This allows them to feed even in murky waters. Diet. Favorite foods include fish, frogs, crayfish, snakes, turtles, amphibians, birds and small mammals. The Diet of Otters on the River Petteril. Females typically are smaller. Well, carrying on from this, I thought that I would follow-up with the initial results from a personal study. Prey choice and habitat use drive sea otter pathogen exposure in a resource-limited coastal system. The female births a litter of two to four pups in the spring. River otters, members of the weasel family, hunt at night and feed on whatever might be available. In addition to fish and crayfish, river otters will feed on other readily available prey. This carnivore primarily eats fish, particularly slower-swimming fish like suckers ... Back to top. Today, reintroduction efforts and stricter environmental regulation aid the increasing numbers of river otters. They will feed on fish, invertebrates, frogs, clams, crayfish, and small mammals or birds. They use their long, agile bodies to swim and hunt for many prey species such as fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other organisms. Go behind-the-scenes to see how our trainers care for and interact with these amazing animals, and get up close with some finned, flippered, or feathered friends. River otter’s diet also embraces redhorses, cubs, bullheads, catfish, darters, perches, sculpins, pike, salmon, trout, and pike. In Monterey Bay, California, researchers found that each sea otter tends to specialize in only a few types of the more than 50 available invertebrates. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. At SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, we extend our commitment to the environment beyond our company by supporting a variety of conservation groups and programs. These pups stay with their mother until autumn. D ANIELS, R. A. In some areas where two or more species overlap, one may be a marine species and the other a freshwater species, such as the marine and southern otters of southern South America. Taken with tigers? About three to four feet long from nose to tail, the northern river otter has sleek, dark brown, waterproof fur, short legs, and a long, thick, tapered tail. The bulk of the river otter’s diet is fish; however, otters are opportunistic and will feed on a variety of prey depending on availability and ease of capture. A river otter’s diet consists largely of fish. Come with us on an unforgettable journey behind the scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp. Of these, scientists have determined that the Asian small-clawed otter eats mainly crabs, the smooth otter relies primarily on large fishes, and the Eurasian otter feeds mainly on smaller fishes and amphibians. The people of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment are truly and deeply driven to inspire on behalf of, to celebrate and connect with, and to care for the natural world we all share. River otters are apex predators in their food web. ... Crayfish are also important in the diet. Shellfish-eating clawless otters catch prey with their paws. This species has a large, weasel-like, long, and slender body with small eyes, ears and head, short legs, webbed toes and a tapering tail. Otoliths and pharyngeal teeth provided effective structures for identifying fish species in otter diet. River otters are apex predators in various watershed environments. They enjoy carp, sunfish, minnows, suckers, sculpin and salmonids such as: River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. Find quick information and fun facts with these 1-page easy resources about animals from A to Z. A female river otter exhibits delayed implantation of her fertilized egg, so that it will not implant on her uterus for several months. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. The North American river otters are carnivores, they eat mainly aquatic animals such as amphibians, turtles, fish, crayfish, crabs, and other species of invertebrates. Unlike some other members of the weasel family, the river otter avoids eating carrion (dead animals). The few natural river otter predators include bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and dogs. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. River otters are strong, unmatched swimmers in their environments, and on land they can run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. The main diet of the otter is made up of fish and crustaceans. Cape clawless otters have been observed using rocks and other hard objects to break open mussel shells. Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Cape clawless and Asian small-clawed otters feed mainly on crabs and other crustaceans, molluscs, and frogs. the river otter is opportunistic as it consumes … Because of their size and speed of swimming, Giant otters are successful competing for fish with Black caimans and jaguars. River otters play the role of apex predators, so the river otter food web represents great importance to many watersheds. River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. River otters may live along rivers, lakes, ponds, sloughs, bays, estuaries or even along a seacoast. The species of fish will vary depending on the location and habitat. River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Great travelers, otter circuits may cover 60 or more miles, and take weeks to complete. River otters chew their food well, leaving very little waste. A lifelong writer, Dianne is also a content manager and science fiction & fantasy novelist. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Their thick fur made them highly prized for their pelts. 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