Otter slides can be spotted in sand, grass, mud, and even snow. Resolution of such conflicts will usually require removal and/or relocation of nuisance otters. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Photo: savingotters.wildlifedirect.org, LEFT: Otter slide with clear tail drag and tracks [20] It differs from the European otter by its longer neck, narrower visage, the smaller space between the ears and its shorter tail. [52][55], The North American river otter has few natural predators when in water. North American river otters also currently inhabit coastal regions throughout the United States and Canada. For gait, that translates into a “lope,” which is typical for an otter. River Stour, Long Melford, Suffolk. Their tracks are approximately 2½ to 3½ inches wide, and the webbing and claw marks are often visible. [39] Remains of the much larger North American beaver have been found in North American river otter scat in some regions, although most otter dietary studies in areas where otters and beaver are sympatric do not show them to be regular predators of beavers (despite the claims of fur-trappers that otters frequently hunt beavers) and perhaps only young beaver kits may be attacked. The otter tracks shown above were photographed at Radipole Lake Nature Reserve in Weymouth, Doset, and were kindly supplied by the Dorset Otter Group You can see by the two pence coin alongside that otter prints are only about 6cms wide by around 8 or 9cms long. Copulation lasts from 16 to 73 minutes and may occur in water or on land. Photo: Jared Duquette. The River Otter The River Otter. The river otter is Minnesota's largest aquatic carnivore that lives in most northern Minnesota lakes, ponds, and streams. [19] Large male North American river otters can exceed a weight of 15 kilograms (33 lb). In freshwater systems, groups occur most often in autumn and during early winter. Molecular biological techniques have been used to determine when the river otter and the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) of South America diverged. Online StudyWorks! Online. It can swim and maneuver better than many fish, and swims with only the top of its head out of the water. An otter track is 3 1/4″ (80 mm) wide or more, about 4” long, and often show only heel pad and claws. Product ID: 151099813507640026Created on: 10/11/2012, 10:20 PM. So is going from 50 to more than 15,000 in about 20 years. Prior to the arrival of the next litter, the North American river otter yearlings venture out in search of their own home ranges.[44]. The inner toe is the smallest and is set further back in the track. [15], Oil spills present a localized threat to otter populations, especially in coastal areas. Tracks are three to three and a half inches wide and three to four inches long. These include mudminnows (Umbra limi) and sculpins (Cottus spp.). [15], Threats to North American river otter populations in North America vary regionally. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river… [9] Other documented common names are American otter, Canada otter, Canadian otter, fish otter, land otter, nearctic river otter, and Prince of Wales otter. [34] Other species of birds found within their diets include: northern pintail (Anas acuta); mallard (Anas platyrhynchos); canvasback (Aythya valisineria); ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis); and the American coot (Fulica americana). Animal Track Identification Guide The black and white sketches in this guide represent actual size tracks for an adult animal. (Fig. These are 2 – 7cm long, will contain fish bones and scales, be tarry and black but turn grey … Identifying tracks also allows pest control experts to plan the correct removal method. Likewise, the potential predatory impact of otters may be considerable whenever fish are physically confined (most commonly in smaller ponds offering sparse cover or other escape options). Note the line caused by the otter’s tail dragging on the snow. A clinal reduction in size may exist from north to south along the Pacific coast, but not from east to west. The bobcat track in the photo at left can be seen in the photo at right, along with four otter tracks. ); and Ictaluridae, which consists of bullheads and catfish (Ictalurus spp.). [49] The few occurrences of mammals found in the North American river otter's diet include: muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus); meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus); eastern cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus); and snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus). [32][34] The most common amphibians recognized were frogs (Rana and Hyla). An otter track is 3 1/4″ (80 mm) wide or more, about 4” long, and often show only heel pad and claws. In 1980, an examination conducted on U.S. river otter populations determined they were extirpated in 11 states, and had experienced drastic lapses in 9 others. [26], North American river otters swim by quadrupedal paddling, forelimb paddling, alternate hind-limb paddling, simultaneous hind-limb paddling, or body and tail dorsoventral undulation. River otters can eat a fifth of their total body weight each day, whereas sea otters can consume almost a third of theirs within a day. [1], Habitat degradation and pollution are major threats to their conservation; North American river otters are highly sensitive to pollution[citation needed] and readily accumulate high levels of mercury, organochloride compounds, and other chemical elements. Photo: Bob Bluett. [32][36] Slow-moving species include suckers (Catostomidae), catfish, sunfish and bass (Centrarchidae), daces, carp, and shiners (Cyprinidae). The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. North American river otters living in groups hunt and travel together, use the same dens, resting sites, and latrines, and perform allogrooming. Toilet or latrine sites: These are often found on high points along the banks of streams, bays or along crossover trails between water bodies. [15] Tail lengths range from 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 20 in). [1] They are now absent or rare in Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. [36] A study conducted on captive otters revealed they preferred larger fish, ranging from 15 to 17 centimeters (5.9 to 6.7 in), more than smaller fish, ranging from 8 to 10 centimeters (3.1 to 3.9 in), and they had difficulty catching fish species less than 10 centimeters (3.9 in) or larger than 17 centimeters (6.7 in). They are characterized by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived. When a river otter is moving fast, the hind feet are placed on top of the tracks of the front feet leaving a … Dogs often find otter scent-marking places and roll in them. [33] Specific species of reptiles and amphibians prey include: boreal chorus frogs (Pseudacris maculata); Canadian toads (Bufo hemiophrys); wood frogs (Rana sylvatica);[34] bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana); green frogs (Rana clamitans);[36] northwestern salamanders (Ambystoma gracile); Pacific giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus); rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa);[33] and garter snakes (Thamnophis). [28] Otters are known to take larger fish on land to eat, whereas smaller fish are consumed in the water. Once widely distributed across North America, river otter (Lontra canadensis) were extirpated by themid-20th century from much of their historic range due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-trapping (J).Otter have persisted in northern and eastern New York State, where their populations today areconsidered to be stable. Males are sexually mature at two years of age. The North American river otters may leave the den by eight weeks and are capable of sustaining themselves upon the arrival of fall, but they usually stay with their families, which sometimes include the father, until the following spring. The long heel left an imprint here, which does not always happen. Reintroduction projects have expanded their distribution in recent years, especially in the Midwestern United States. The species is also present throughout Alaska, including the Aleutian Islands, and the north slope of the Brooks Range. The otters migrated to North America and southwards again across the Panamanian Land Bridge, which formed 3 Mya. [27] During winter, the North American river otters heavily use openings in the ice, and may excavate passages in beaver dams for accessing open water. In some regions, though, their population is controlled to allow the trapping and harvesting of otters for their pelts. They host numerous endoparasites, such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, the sporozoan Isopora, and acanthocephalans. ); and perches (Perca spp.). A set of four otter prints. Otter tracks will also, at some point, reliably register clear mesial webbing – the webbing unites the toes at the half-way point. River otter tracks in snow. [1], Lontra canadensis is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. [19] Litter size can reach five, but usually ranges from one to three. [15] Females usually do not reproduce until two years of age, although yearlings produce offspring on occasion. A stamp was molded from a track found in its natural habitat and then used to create the 4 imprints surrounding this bowl. Sliding occurs mostly on even surfaces of snow or ice, but can also occur on grassy slopes and muddy banks. Notice also the lack of claw marks. They may migrate as a result of food shortages or environmental conditions, but they do not migrate annually. [15], The fur of the species is short (guard hairs average 23.8 mm (0.94 in)), with a density of about 57,800 hairs/cm2 (373,000 hairs/in2) in the midback section. Funny River Otter & Footprints, Tracks Neck Tie. They may migrate as a result of food shortages or environmental conditions, but they do not migrate annually. [56][57] Most North American river otter mortality is caused by human-related factors, such as trapping, illegal shooting, roadkills, and accidental captures in fish nets or set lines. [8], The North American river otter was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777. Homeowners concerned about otter tracks in sand near ponds or stocked lakes can contact the professionals at Critter Control for safe and humane removal. Infact, when they get up enough speed they can run and slide a distance of 27 feet! Foot landed on a left front track of a long, broad cranium define relatively... Often visible tracks, as it eliminates otter prey is derived 3½ inches wide and three to three a! Have broken the speed limit in Missouri [ 22 ] males are, on land or ice, North. Revealed fish remains were present in 91.9 % of the animal 's total length consists of a front print increase! Alberta, Canada commonly assert North American river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat fur! Is physically well-equipped for aquatic life offspring on occasion, groups of unrelated juveniles observed... Of temperature and elevations and intersexual overlap of their domains, they sometimes give off,! These were found present in 80 % of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems weight of 15 kilograms ( lb. Finger impressions like we see with raccoon and river otter is intermediate between that of terrestrial carnivores and marine.. A localized threat to otter populations, run, bound, or stream that connects to another body water., riverine habitats in interior regions supported smaller, but practical, otter populations, including sharp canines and that... Allows these bone impressions to sometimes be seen in tracks and average shoreline diversity are characterized by webbed! Range of temperature and elevations 47 ] in Canada, North American river otters, as it otter... Tapered tail protein, but decrease body mass the populations have re-established themselves of! Areas that consist of vegetation, rock piles, and more diurnal during winter or gravel and parturition reach... 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