I chose to study the river otter because they are common at the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge and I will be doing water quality research so I will have a greater chance of seeing an otter being by the water than some other possible animals.
Common name: River otter
Scientific name: Lantra canadensis
Behavior: The river otter is carnivorous. They eat fish and occasionally small animals. They live around rivers and lakes usually in wooded areas. River otters are very adept swimmers. On average they swim 7 mph. They can hold their breath underwater for up to two minutes.
Description: Their toes are fully webbed, they have small valvular nostrils which seal upon submergence. All these features allow for them to be able to swim more efficiently. Their fur is dark brown while their belly is paler, the throat is often silver-grey. Their bodies are 90-130 cm long and their tail is 30-50 cm long. Their mass is 5-14 kg. They have a flattened, bulbous nose. Dense whiskers which help them sense the movement of their prey in water.
Lifespan: In the wild river otters can live eight to nine years while in captivity they can live up to 21 years.
Breeding: Males will breed with many different females. Generally they are solitary animals except for when the female has babies or pups. The pups will leave by the time she gives birth again. The mom will usually give birth to two to four pups but litter sizes may range anywhere from one to six. Each pup will weigh about five ounces.
Sightings: On May 7, 2010 I spotted some droppings by the Bear Creek.
This is a general description of the river otter. Observations will be done in the future and updated.
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