River otters' main source of food is fish, but otters are opportunists by nature and will eat a wide variety of foods. Read also: 30 Strange Flamingo Facts That You Never Knew About. There is always at least one tunnel opening that allows the otters to enter and exit the water. River otters can live in a variety of elevations and temperatures as long as they have easy access to water and a steady food supply. They will line the nest chamber with soft natural materials such as hair, leaves, moss, grass and bark. This semiaquatic mammal has the weight of 11 to 30.9 lb or 5 to 14 kilograms. Otters eat from 15% to 25% of their body weight each day. The primary source of food for the Otter is fish. Other sounds include a hissing bark, snarling growl, shrill whistle, explosive snort, birdlike chirp and even low purring grunts. Giant ottters are very sociable animals and often live in groups of up … River otters are particularly streamlined in water. This is likely the result of environmental pollution, to which these otters are particularly sensitive. Between one and seven pups are born in a litter. Eurasian otters feed mainly on fish. , The Asian small-clawed otter was listed on CITES Appendix II and is protected in almost all range countries prohibiting its killing. It is known as the common otter or northern river otter. You can expect Arkansas otters to dine on fish, turtles and crayfish at some of the state’s best fishing spots: Little Red River, Bull Shoals Lake and fishing holes in the northwest region. Captive pairs are monogamous.  One of the more intriguing river otter facts is that these animals largely communicate using auditory and olfactory signals. Its skull is short, and the naked rhinarium rounded above.  Results of a molecular study published in 2008 showed that the Asian small-clawed otter is a sister taxon of Lutrogale, lending support to retaining the genus Amblonyx or expanding Aonyx to make it monophyletic. In addition to fish and crayfish, river otters will feed on other readily available prey. It lives in groups of up to 15 individuals. They use grassy or sandy banks for resting, sun bathing and grooming. The resulting offspring and their descendants bred back into the smooth-coated otter population, but maintained the genes of their small-clawed otter ancestors. Incomplete webbing between the toes gives them a … The species of fish will vary depending on the location and habitat. Their range has actually decreased over the years due to urbanization and pollution. The river otter was first identified in 1777. What Do Otters Eat? The hindmost upper teeth (pm4 and m3) are broad and robust and are specialized for crushing the exoskeletons of crabs and other hard shelled prey.  When disturbed, they scream to rally the help of others. Several conservation projects have been started in an attempt to stabilize their numbers.  Their favorites are fish such as suckers, minnows, sunfish, bass, and minnows.  The characteristics that create the streamlined profile of a river otter include small ears, a neck that has the same diameter as the head, short powerful legs, webbed toes, and a tapered tail that constitutes one-third of the otter’s length. Asian small-clawed otters use their forepaws rather than their mouth to locate and capture food items. , The Asian small-clawed otter is mostly active after dark. Its underfur is lighter near the base. River Otters Communicate Using Sounds and Smells, River Otters Are Threatened by Habitat Loss. This allows them to feed even in murky waters. This means that river otters are actually near sighted. They live in dens along the water’s edge. What do otters eat? River otters, like all otters, are carnivorous. Hind feet are 97 to 102 mm (3.8 to 4 in) long. Required fields are marked  They genetically diverged about 1.5 million years ago. In head-to-body length, it ranges from 470 to 610 mm (18.4 to 24 in) with a 260 to 350 mm (10.2 to 13.6 in) long tail. River otters don’t breed until they’re at least five years old. A river otter’s diet consists largely of fish. These include game fishes, bass (Centrarchidae) suckers (Catostomidae), and shiners. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, raptors, and other large predators will sometimes prey on North American river otters. Threats in India include deforestation, conversion of natural habitat for tea and coffee plantations, overfishing of rivers and water pollution through pesticides. Facts about River Otters talk about an animal, which can be found on the coasts or waterways of North America. Information about the Asian small-clawed otter's mating and breeding behaviour has been studied in captive environments. Due to the large volume of food they consume, otters can prove very problematic for fishermen or private land owners. All otters are expert hunters that eat fish, crustaceans, and other critters. People also call it North American river otter. Sea otters eat a wide variety of prey, including marine invertebrates such as echinoderms ( sea stars and sea urchins), crustaceans (e.g., crabs), cephalopods (e.g., squid), bivalves (clams, mussels, abalone), gastropods (snails), and chitons. A Sea Otter's Diet. 40 Devils Tower Facts That Will Make You Want To Visit, 50 Interesting Carrot Facts That You Never Knew About, 100 Interesting Facts That Will Boggle Your Mind, 300 Random Facts No One Knows What To Do With, 100 Nutrition Facts To An Easier And Healthier Lifestyle, 100 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind, 300 WTF Facts That Will Make You Question Everything, 300 Weird Facts That Will Confuse And Amaze You At The Same Time, 100 Did You Know Facts Most People Have Never Heard About, Weight: 11 to 31 pounds (5 to 14 kilograms), Length: 26 to 42 inches (66 to 107 centimeters), Lifespan: 8 to 9 years (21 years in captivity), Aquatic Predators: Alligator, American crocodile, killer whales, sharks, Terrestrial Predators: Coyote, bobcat, lynx, wolf, mountain lion, black bear, domestic dogs, Human-related Mortality: Trapping, illegal shooting, road kill, accidental captures, Conservation: Bioindicator in aquatic ecosystems, Location: River Otters Live on the Water’s Edge, Name: The “River Otter” Actually Lives in a Variety of Habitats, Habitat: River Otters Are Found in Aquatic Habitats throughout North America, Homes: River Otters Are Opportunistic When Selecting Dens, Anatomy: Physical Adaptations Make River Otters Aquatic Masters, River Otters Are Near-Sighted but Can See Well Underwater, River Otters May Be Marine Animals but They Are Also Night Owls, River Otters’ Play Teaches Them Survival Skills, Does Something Smell Fishy? River otters are semi-aquatic mammals. The younger otters are more vulnerable to predators who include but are not limited to coyotes, dogs, cougars, bears, and bobcats. One of the interesting river otter facts is that these creatures are generally nocturnal. Otters are eaten by large predators, such as great white sharks, killer whales, bears, sea lions, eagles and coyotes, depending on their geographical location. The North American River Otter is an animal with a very high metabolism, so it must eat quite often. About two weeks before parturition, both female and male engage in building a nest. Pups are born with closed eyes, which open in the fifth week. Length of skull ranges from 3.3 to 3.7 in (84 to 94 mm). River otters can smell concentrations of fish in upstream ponds that drain into small, slow moving streams and will follow that smell to its origin, even in urban areas. Your email address will not be published.  This species is a member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and is the smallest otter species in the world. The predators that Otters will encounter depend on where they happen to live. Otters munch from an aquatic menu. This can be explained by the fact that river otters are among the most energetic animals in their niches. The habits and methods of eating differ by species as well. It is a carnivore , hunting other animals for its food. Part II – Mammals", "Stronger International Regulations and Increased Enforcement Effort is needed to end the Illegal Trade in Otters in Asia", "CITES CoP 2019: Otters given highest protection from trade", "Ban on endangered otter trade to take effect amid pet boom in Japan", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Asian_small-clawed_otter&oldid=992346682, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. them to open. , The Asian small-clawed otter has deep brown fur with some rufous tinge on the back, but paler below. However, these games are not undertaken purely for enjoyment. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that they indulge in food that can be found in and around rivers. They have been known to feed on mollusks, aquatic insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. They eat a variety of animals, including fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, water insects, snails, worms, small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, turtles, and any aquatic invertebrates.  Where do otters live? They will feed on fish, invertebrates, frogs, clams, crayfish, and small mammals or birds. They inhabit both coastal regions and inland waterways. Although their range is decreasing as their habitat is being threatened, they are not currently endangered. Sleek, cylindrical body; small head; tail nearly one third of the body and tapers to a point; feet webbed; claws short; fur is dark dense brown. Newborn pups weigh between 45.6 and 62.5 g (1.61 and 2.20 oz) and reach a weight of 410–988 g (14.5–34.9 oz) after 60 days. , The Asian small-clawed otter feeds mainly on crabs, mudskippers and Trichogaster fish. These dens, or burrows, can have several tunnel openings. River otters are predators; they avoid feeding on carrion. This is particularly noticeable during spring, summer and autumn. Some otters, such as the River Otter, are mostly solitary.  In the 19th and 20th centuries, several zoological specimens were described: Results of a mitochondrial cytochrome B analysis published in 1998 indicated that it should be subordinated to the genus Aonyx. As aquatic mammals, otters spend most of their time in the water.  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. The Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), also known as the oriental small-clawed otter or simply small-clawed otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to South and Southeast Asia. In marshes, they use mostly islands. They are carnivorous, and most species eat a variety of fish, amphibians, shellfish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. Keep in mind that otter trapping season is closed in Districts 1, 2 and 5, so make sure you check the quotas before you go after them.  Its eyes are located toward the front of the head. , It is the most sought after otter species for the illegal pet trade in Asia. Otters need about 3 square miles to find all of this food. The frequency of latrines with smeared scats varied in different locations, indicating a preference for certain sites. River otters eat virtually anything that you can find near lakes or streams. River otters are apex predators in their food web. The only predator that they have to worry about is the killer whale. River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. Adult captive otters range in weight from 2.7 to 3.5 kg (6.0 to 7.7 lb). When and where available, it also catches snakes, frogs, insects, rats and rice field fish like catfish, Anabas testudineus and Channa striata. Otter Diet: Otters live near water because it provides them with everything they need—including food. A river otter’s diet consists largely of fish. If an area is polluted, the river otter will move to a new place that isn’t tainted. The river otter had almost been moved out of the Smokies altogether and then in the early 1990s, the Park Service began to reintroduce otters to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  In the wild the otters eat primarily crustaceans and mollusks but will also eat fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles. Volunteers and DEC staff live-trapped otter primarily in the Adirondacks (DEC Regions 5 and 6), but some otter from the Catskills and Hudson Valley (DEC Regions 3 … Eurasian otters will generally live anywhere that has a source of unpolluted fresh water with a sufficient food supply. Today, a population of at least 60 hybrid otters exist in Singapore. Humans also kill sea otters when they use fishing gear that traps the otter or hit the otter with boats. The estrous cycle of females lasts 28 to 30 days with estrus lasting between one and 13 days. That way, they consume the meat without having to crush the shells.. Please pass this on to an otter group in that area, so they can add the information to their database for monitoring and survey purposes. Your email address will not be published. River otters are predators; they avoid feeding on carrion. Across the world, there are thirteen known species of otter. Humans do not usually eat sea otters and generally kill them by accident. What they eat: River Otters are carnivorous (they eat meat). The size of crabs found in spraints in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary ranged in carapace width from 10 to 44 cm (3.9 to 17.3 in). The otter is a fish hunter, though it happily eats waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans too, including American signal crayfish. Lutra cinerea was the scientific name proposed by Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger in 1815 for an otter collected in Batavia. River otters eat mostly aquatic organisms, including fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles, insects and some small mammals. It also occurs in mangroves. This species is a member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and is the smallest otter species in the world. This helps them to maintain the important insulation provided by their thick fur. , Observations of wild Asian small-clawed otters revealed that they smear their spraint at latrine sites, using their hind feet and tails. At about three months, they enter and paddle in shallow water under the guidance of the mother. Captive Asian small-clawed otters were observed to leave shellfish in the sun so that the heat causes The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, cr… At least 711 Asian small-clawed otters were offered for sale through online websites by 280 traders in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam between 2016 and 2017. There are short hairs on the lower sides of the interdigital webs. They collect grass, hay or straw and carry this material into the breeding chamber. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. Large groups smeared more than groups of three or fewer animals. During winter when the climate is much colder river otters are more diurnal in their behavior, meaning they are more active during the day. Approximately 40,000 of them are consumed annually in this area. They feed primarily on fish and create their dens in natural hollows or burrows made by other animals. They enjoy carp, sunfish, minnows, suckers, sculpin and salmonids such as trout and salmon. Would you give this recipe from tradgang.com a try? In western Java, it inhabits areas along slow-flowing irrigation channels, pond areas and rice fields surrounded by vegetation that offers shelter. They are great swimmers, and on land, they can run at speeds of 15 miles an hour. Unlike most animals, the otter yields the best meat from the neck, followed by the back, tenderloins, and limbs. Since then it has been given a total of 11 common names. Otters are adapted to life on both land and in water. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 19:57. Their eyes are protected while they are swimming thanks to transparent nictitating membranes, which act like swimming goggles. North American river otters get their boundless energy from their very high metabolism, which also requires that they eat a great deal during the day. The sides of the neck and head are brown, but its cheeks, upperlip, chin, throat and sides of the neck are whitish.  They hunt singly or in pairs and although otters generally forage in water, they are equally at home on land, sometimes traveling between 10 and 18 miles (16 and 29 kilometers) in search of food. Japanese River Otters.  Since August 2019, it is included in CITES Appendix I, thus strengthening its protection in regards to international trade. For example the Alaskan Otter is protected so humans aren’t really a treat to it. They like to forage near shorelines, overhanging banks, and areas where fish are found. River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. Their second choice is crayfish, then frogs and miscellaneous animals. In addition to fish and crayfish, river otters will … They are well adapted to their riverine habitats, with webbed feet to help them swim and the ability to close their eyes and ears underwater. One of the more surprising river otter facts is that this build hampers their agility on land. It inhabits freshwater wetlands such as swamps, meandering rivers, irrigated rice fields as well as estuaries, coastal lagoons and tidal pools. , The Association of Zoos and Aquariums established a Species Survival Plan for the Asian small-clawed otter in 1983 to encourage research on captive breeding. Before much of Arkansas’s mussel population was depleted during the pearl rush, they were also a favorite meal. These skills include hunting and fighting. During these seasons, river otters tend to be most active during crepuscular hours and at night. Giant river otters: One of the Amazon forest's top predators 04 November 2016 (5425 visits). River otters have also been known to utilize the burrows made by red foxes, woodchucks, beavers, nutria, and muskrats. One of the most unfortunate river otter facts is that these animals are currently threatened by habitat loss. The four-lobed plantar pads are longer than wide. Once you locate otters, take note of behaviour, weather and river conditions, numbers, and other general details of what you saw, along with times and dates. These creatures inhabit a wide range of aquatic habitats. What Do Otters Eat Regularly? River otters live in dens, also known as holts. They seem to prefer games such as wrestling and chasing. Its paws are narrow with short digits that are webbed to the last joint. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they eat a prepare… A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo. , The Asian small-clawed otter groups with the African clawless otter and the smooth-coated otter into a sister clade to the genus Lutra. Females have four mammary glands. River otters are able to learn vital survival skills through their play. The muzzle has long coarse vibrissae on either side. Crayfish are the second most common prey of river otters. Outside of fish, river otters will also eat crustaceans, insects, birds, oysters, shellfish, turtles and a number of other aquatic life. River otters will either use a natural hollow or a burrow made by another animal. It does not have upper premolars and only four postcanine teeth above. It lives in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding; offspring from previous years help to raise the young. Some other common items that they will eat include invertebrates, birds, and small sized animals. 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.  Its paws are a distinctive feature; its claws do not extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. It's really common to watch someone point at a river otter and say, … At 8kg, it is our second-largest mustelid and is becoming increasingly common in our rivers and lakes as its numbers rebound … River otters can be found in Canada, the Pacific North West, the Atlantic States, and the Gulf of Mexico. Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Society. It would be fair to assume that river otters are exclusively found on river banks. Interval between births is at least eight months. Hybridisation of Asian small-clawed otter females with smooth-coated otter males occurred in Singapore. The Japanese river otter (Lutra lutra whiteleyi) was a semi-aquatic carnivore otter that used to inhabit the rivers of Japan, and was distributed in Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu until the 1920s. Otters are meat eaters.  When diving under water, they undulate their bodies and tails. They are well adapted to swimming and hunting. This gives it a high degree of manual dexterity so that it can use its paws to feed on molluscs, crabs and other small aquatic animals. They use their forepaws to locate and capture items rather than their mouths. The species of fish will vary depending on the location and habitat. Captive otters swim at speeds of 0.7–1.2 m/s (2.3–3.9 ft/s). Spraint smearing most likely facilitates social ties among group members and is associated with territorial marking displays. The biological name is Lontra Canadensis. Group members communicate using 12 or more distinct calls, and utter a variety of yelps and whimpers. The claws are short, almost erect, and in some individuals even absent.  They start exploring the environs of the breeding den at the age of ten weeks. *, 30 Strange Flamingo Facts That You Never Knew About. There are various sounds that river otters make, depending on whether they are playing, irritated, in pain or in distress. In southern India, it occurs along shallow mountain creeks in hill ranges up to an elevation of 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in Karnataka, Nilgiri and Palni hills in Tamil Nadu. The Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), also known as the oriental small-clawed otter or simply small-clawed otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to South and Southeast Asia. One of the most surprising river otter facts is that these otters don’t dig their own dens. , The Asian small-clawed otter is threatened by poaching for its fur, loss and destruction of habitats such as hill streams, peat swamp forests and mangroves for aquaculture projects. The Asian small-clawed otter inhabits mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands in South and Southeast Asia. Gestation lasts 62 to 86 days. River otters are known to be very playful creatures. Otters will hang out at a few of their favorite spots in this la… The small ears are oval-shaped with an inconspicuous tragus and antitragus. These otters were placed in areas where the rangers knew they would find plenty of food and have the best chance for reproducing and growing their numbers. They will also eat birds and vegetation.  They become independent at the age of four to five months. , When swimming on the surface, otters row with the forelimbs and paddle with the hind limbs. Due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution, and hunting in some areas, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.. Intergroup communication generally occurs in the form of scent marking. River otters are most commonly heard emitting a low frequency chuckling. Crayfish are the second most common prey of river otters. They have webbed feet for swimming, dense fur for warmth, and can close their ears and nose underwater. In Asia ” is misleading larger prey gives river otters ' main source food! Are narrow with short digits that are webbed to the large volume of food is fish it... 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