. Behavior: North American river otters have a reputation as very friendly and playful animals. Giant otters are more social than river otters, but separate groups tend to avoid each other. The otter can close its nostrils and ears under water, and uses the sensitive whiskers around its snout to help locate prey. 2011, Rosas et al. Their ability to travel quickly on land is essential for escaping predators, such as alligators and coyotes, who might consider an otter a tasty snack. North American river otters will eat frogs, turtles, snakes, insects, small mammals and birds whenever this type of prey is readily available. Flexing their long bodies up and down, paddling with their webbed hind feet, and using their feet and strong tails to steer, river otters are underwater acrobats. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel water. Some might take issue with my calling some particular phenomenon a winter adaptation if it evolved for some other reason, and only happens to be of benefit during winter. To travel better in water, river otters developed adaptations such as four webbed feet and a propeller-like tail. This particular species of otter is not classified as endangered at this time, but habitat loss could be an ongoing concern. River otters (Lutra canadensis, Fig. River Otters as Agents of Water Loss From Beaver Dams, Camera Trapping Bats with an Acoustic Trigger, Building a DSLR Camera Trap: Part 1 – Design Elements, Davis, R. D. “Metabolism and Thermoregulation.” In, Reid, D. G., S. M. Herrero and T. E. Code. The River Otter's Adaptation to the Environment. PART OF WILD SKY MEDIA | FAMILY & PARENTING, SeaWorld: Otters - Adaptations for an Aquatic Environment, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department: River Otter, Children's Zoo at Celebration Square: North American River Otter, University of Michigan: North American River Otter. The best way to learn about the behavioral and physical adaptations that help this mammal survive is to watch an otter on land and in the water. Mammal. Otters have short powerful legs with webbed feet. It’s probably for these reasons that the otter depends on a thick, waterproof coat and excellent hunting ability instead of a layer of blubber to keep warm. North American River Otters spend much of their time foraging. On the contrary, they are active and appear comfortable – nay, joyful – in the snow. Thanks! The otter closes its nostrils and small ears when submerged. Male river otters ignore females and young through most of the year.
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