lutra canadensis n.
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River Otters - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Mustelid family. Lutra canadensis. River Otters. Aquatic mammals. 10-25 pounds 30-40 inches long + 12-15 inch tail 10-20 years life span Furred tail Eyes protrude 2 fur layers – underfur 7 guard hairs, subcutaneous fat. Swimming. Underwater locomotion Body Feet & tail steering

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aquatic mammals
Aquatic mammals
  • 10-25 pounds
  • 30-40 inches long
  • + 12-15 inch tail
  • 10-20 years life span
  • Furred tail
  • Eyes protrude
  • 2 fur layers –
    • underfur 7 guard hairs, subcutaneous fat
swimming
Swimming
  • Underwater locomotion
    • Body
    • Feet & tail steering
  • 4 minutes, ¼ mile
  • 7 miles/hour
  • Dive 50 feet
  • Best in water of all land mammals
  • Valves – seal ears & nose
  • Pulse rate drops
    • Slows blood & O2 circulation
swimming1
Swimming

Excellent hearing

Ok eyes on land

Great eyes under water

Keen sense smell

Whiskers – search for food

diet carnivores
Diet - carnivores
  • Fish
    • Minnows
    • Sunfish
    • Suckers
    • Carp
    • Trout

Aquatic plants/roots

Crunch thru shells

  • Frogs
  • Turtles
  • Snails
  • Mussels
  • Crayfish
  • Snakes & eggs
  • Worms
  • Insects
  • muskrats
teeth 36
Teeth - 36
  • More teeth than any other mustelid in PA
  • 5 molars each side of upper and lower jaws
  • Only carnivore in PA w/ all these molars
  • Molars – perfect for crushing shells
slide7
Play
  • Wrestle
  • Slide
  • Sled
  • Sounds
    • Chirp, chitter, chuckles, grumbles
    • Screams– danger
    • otters playing
slide8

River freeze

  • Swim under ice find air pockets, dens
  • No hibernation
  • No food storage
  • Winter – water warmer
slide9
Dens
  • Lakes, rivers, streams, islands, marsh high ground
  • Under tree roots, rock piles,
  • Abandoned beaver, muskrat, or woodchuck burrows
  • Beaver lodges
  • Underwater entrance hole, living space above water, several air or exit holes
reproduction
Reproduction
  • Mature 2 years
  • Breed Jan – May in water
  • Delayed implantation (Dec, Jan, Feb)
  • 2 months gestation
  • 1 – 5 young
  • Males polygamous
babies
Babies
  • Born April or May
  • Blind & toothless
  • Blind 5 weeks
  • Den until 3 – 4 months old
  • Learn to swim with mom
pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
  • Protected since 1952
  • No hunting, no trapping
  • Restocking since 1980’s
  • Water Pollution & strip mine

runoff- improved conditions

  • Population size?
    • Secretive
    • Nocturnal
    • Most in NE PA
    • NY & MD – high pops & trapping legal
keystone species
Keystone species
  • Clean water
  • Habitat provides for needs of many other species
  • Opportunistic feeders
  • Habitat loss & water pollution
  • Avoid humans
  • Top of food chain
  • Social
  • Playful
important questions
Important questions ???
  • How are otters designed for life in the water?
  • Why is clean water important to otters?
  • Why is it difficult to know the otter population in PA?
  • Are otters active in winter or do they hibernate?
  • Carnivores or herbivores?
  • Diurnal or nocturnal?
  • How can river otters guarantee that offspring will be born in the spring?
  • Describe how an otter swims.
  • When was restocking of otters introduced in PA?
  • What family do otters belong to?
  • How many teeth do they have?