River Otter

                                   By: Rebecca M.

The river otter has four short legs five toes on each foot. In between each toe is webbing. The otter's back is a black and brown and there stomach is a light brown but the neck and head is  gray. The river otter, found in the United States and Canadian waterways, is a sub-species of the Otter (Lutrinae), which belongs to the martens (Mustelidae family.)  The River Otter is called Nutria Del Canada or Nutria Norteamerica. Lontre du Canada ,Kanada-Otter or Nordamerikanischer Fischoter and Lontre Canadese These otters have been around for a long time, since B.C. River otters are expert swimmers and divers but when the otter dives it makes no splash. The river otter can swim up to seven miles per hour underwater, and can hold its breath under water for at least 3 minutes.          



Today people still hunt otters for there fur.  In recent years, more than 50,000 otters have been taken in North America. European settlers arrived and started developing the land (cutting down forests) and using farm fertilizers, the otter habitat became threatening.


 These otters have a few natural enemies, in the water and on land.   Otters are fairly easily trapped, mostly in beaver traps. Other harmful human actions include habitat destruction and adding pesticides and pollutants mercury, DDT, into the food chain. Since otters are at the top of the food chain, these nasty chemicals are concentrated by the time they reach the otters.


 The river otter’s natural habitat is by a damp area with a river like stream. River otters do well in Alaska and most of Canada, in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes and most states along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico


Other animals in this environment that have similar adaptations that the river otter has are the beaver. Normally river otters take over the beavers dams.


 Authors Note

    The river otter is a beautiful animal!




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