Outside of fish, river otters will also eat crustaceans, insects, birds, oysters, shellfish, turtles and a number of other aquatic life. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Otters are large river mammal in the subfamily Lutrinae that can grow up to 30+ pounds and almost 4 feet long. Some otters meet their demise in the jaws of coyotes, bobcats, lynx, and wolves on land and occasionally by transient killer whales in the sea. Food. Last, but not least, North American river otters are considered a keystone species, which means other species in the same habitat largely depend on the existence of river otters. These furry water lovers hunt mostly at night, following the scent of fish even into urban areas. North American River Otters. The embryos do not begin development until about eight months later, and 50 days after that, the young are born. Normally, during a winter here at John Ball Zoo, our North American river otters can still be on exhibit in the cold and snow. Find river otters, and you will find healthy streams and rivers. They are a top predator and their presence also reflects the health of the ecosystem around them. The cubs will remain with the parents through the first winter, but separate the next spring. North American River otters may be commonly found throughout much of sub-Arctic Canada, Alaska, and, within the contiguous United States, in the Pacific Northwest and along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Occurs over most of North America, from Alaska to Newfoundland, and south to FL, TX, and CA; however, it is absent now in much of the southern plains and the desert region. The North American river otters are carnivores, they eat mainly aquatic animals such as amphibians, turtles, fish, crayfish, crabs, and other species of invertebrates. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family.While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. How to Get Rid of Otters - Otters are adorable river creatures that are native to the North American continent that prefer colder areas with cold freshwater. While North American River otters are rather high up on the food chain, they do in fact have several natural predators. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. The North American river otter has many natural predators but typically can avoid them by escaping quickly to a burrow or to water. 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. They are a native species that have a fairly large range over North America being found close to any coasts and waterways. North American river otters are built for speed, agility, and staying warm and wary near shorelines full of prey… and predators. North American River Otters are the charismatic clowns (and the largest members) of the weasel family, well-known for their playful antics and excellent swimming abilities. Sometimes they eat aquatic plants. Otters eat a variety of small aquatic organisms such as fish, clams, muskrats, and turtles. 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