Characteristics and Behavior:
The Northern River Otter is a semi-aquatic mammal that is part of the weasel family. It has a long, sleek body with short legs and webbed feet that make it an excellent swimmer. The otter's fur is thick and waterproof, usually brown in color with a lighter underbelly, which helps it stay warm in the water. They have keen senses and can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes underwater. Northern River Otters are social animals and are often found living in family groups of up to 12 individuals. They are opportunistic feeders, and their diet consists of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and small mammals.
Distribution and Habitat preferences:
- The Northern River Otter can be found throughout North America, from Alaska to Mexico.
- They prefer freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, and ponds, but they can also be found in coastal areas and estuaries.
- Otters require clean water and adequate food sources to survive.
- The Northern River Otter has a lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild.
- They reach sexual maturity at around two years of age and can breed year-round.
- The female gives birth to a litter of one to six pups after a gestation period of around 60 days.
- The pups stay with their mother for about a year before venturing out on their own.
- Northern River Otters are known for their playful behavior and can often be seen sliding down muddy or snowy embankments for fun.
- When you see a family of otters on land, it is called a romp, while a family of otters in the water is referred to as a raft.
- Otters have a metabolic rate that is 2-3 times higher than most other mammals, which allows them to regulate their body temperature in cold water.