Northern river otter

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river otter

Photo by: Lisa Robinson

northern river otter Lutra canadensis 

Order Carnivore flesh-eating mammals of great diversity in habitat and appearance

Suborder Pinnipedia– mostly marine      and     Suborder Fissipedia– mostly land-living

Suborder Fissipedia

  • long pointed canine teeth
  • 3 incisors on both sides of both jaws
  • a divided foot with 4 toes

Family Mustelidae Weasels, minks, martens, fishers, wolverines, badgers, otters, & skunks (have short legs with 5 toes on each foot, fur of fine quality, highly developed scent glands, a short nose. One molar on each side of upper jaw, two molars on each side of lower jaw)

Adaptation to hunt while swimming:

  • All feet fully webbed
  • Streamlined body & tail
  • Short, thick insulating fur
  • Active during the day & night
  • Eyes adapted for seeing underwater in low light

Opportunistic Carnivores that eat mostly fish &, crabs, crayfish, amphibians, large aquatic beetles, birds (primarily injured or molting ducks and geese), bird eggs, fish eggs, and small mammals (muskrats, mice, young beavers).

Habitat: ponds, lakes, rivers, sloughs, estuaries, bays, and in open waters along coast.