North American River Otters. This species does not hibernate and remains active under frozen water by breathing through breaks in the ice. They are a top predator and their presence also reflects the health of the ecosystem around them. Even with the risk of predation from larger species such as the American alligator, bobcats and coyotes, the greatest threat to river otters are from humans and include habitat destruction, fragmentation and pollution. River otters can hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes. 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. 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. Threats: Destruction of habitat. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). Photograph by Michael Quinton / Minden Pictures This lists the logos of programs or partners of NG Education which have provided or contributed the content on this page. By sharing research and knowledge, participating institutions work together to establish guidelines that best ensure the health of captive populations, and with success, the survival of otherwise extinct species. The North American River Otter is considered to be Least Concern as it is not currently declining at a rate sufficient for a threat category. North American river otters are known for their playful swimming, but they are also an important species for helping scientists understand the health of river systems. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds. Neotropical Otter occurs in all major rivers along the east of the country and patchy areas along the northern coast. River otters are able to hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. This animal’s lovely waterproof pelt, which allows it to regulate its temperature, in the 1700s-1800s, a regular part of French fur trade, has meant this animal has been hunted for hundreds of years. 3. Yes. Species: Neotropical Otter. During the winter the otter could only fish through small ice holes. All otters are declining due to habitat loss. Summary 6 The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts.An adult river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 31 lb). The North American River Otter is very streamlined, having a muscular body with short legs, webbed toes and a long muscular tail. In turn, so does the number of otters. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. The North American river otter is a large otter whose story is a success. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). 1 (2014): 502-517. As top predators, they consume many other animals, from insects and crayfish to rodents and birds. NARRATOR: As spring begins, snow and ice melt into flowing streams. Its fur ranges in color from white and gray to brown and black. 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. North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis) are members of the weasel family.They are a semi-aquatic mammal. 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