There are 11 species of river otter, including the Eurasian river otter Lutra lutra , the North American A mated pair of sea otters, male left and female right. Photograph by Tom McHugh. Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. Often confused with European mink , the river otter is heavier, with a broader face and a tail that is stout at the base, becoming flatter and more tapered toward the end.
River Otter Species Profile, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
The North American river otter is a member of the mustelid or weasel family that can be easily identified by a stout body, short legs, noticeably tapered tail and dense, short, glossy fur. Their streamlined body, fully webbed feet, broad and flattened head and stout, muscular tail, and closeable nostrils and ears all serve to assist in swimming and foraging. Their eyes, ears, and nose are located on the top of the head so they can see, hear, and smell while most of their body remains in the water. Fur color can range from light brown to black, with a lighter, grayish colored chin and throat. Males are generally larger than females, 44 inches and 38 inches total length, respectively. Body weight ranges from 10 - 30 pounds, and is likely dependent on age and dietary limitations.
Filled with curiosity and playfulness, river otters are charismatic animals with an important role to play as an apex predator in riparian ecosystems. They are a key species for signaling the health of a watershed — watching the health of river otter populations can reveal much about the overall health of their habitat. River otters nearly disappeared from the San Francisco Bay Area, and were rarely sighted for many decades. More and more, there are signs of otter activity along the banks of lagoons, creeks and streams, and even urban lakes around the Bay Area.
Please take this quick survey to tell us about what happens after you publish a paper. Journal of Ethology. Little is known about the behaviors river otters Lontra canadensis commonly exhibit when visiting latrine sites.