River Otter

Common Name: River Otter


Family: Mustelidae

Otters are normally found in all continents except Antarctica and Australia. North American Otters are available throughout America and Canada. Sea Otters live in coastal areas and eastern and western Pacific Ocean including Costa Rica.

Size: The Otters have a length from head to body, 21.75 to 31.5 in (55 to 80 cm); and tail, from 11.75 to 19.75 in (30 to 50 cm)

Weight: It can have a weight from 11 to 30 lbs (5 to 14 kg).

Diet: They are Carnivore and usually feed aquatic animal, fish, selfish and other invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

Average life span: The average life span of an otter in the wild is about 16 years.
Habitat: Otters are habitually found with in a few hundred meters from water. Most species of otters are completely dependent on aquatic environment for food.

Breeding/Reproduction: Sea otters breed almost throughout the year. The period of gestation is about 60 to 86 days. The newborn is taken care of by the mother, the father, and all the other offspring. Female otters can get the sexual maturity at about two years of age, while males can produce offspring at around three years of age. After one month, the young otter can come out of the cave, and after two months, it is able to swim. It lives with its family for about one year so that it can learn and be kept safe until maturity.

Relatives: The Otter relatives are the ferret, the ermine, the wolverine, the mink, and others in weasel family. There are two types of Otters, Sea Otter and River Otter.

Otters are sweet creatures that exist both on land and in the sea water or river. They are often mistaken for beavers though. They live mostly on land but very close to the water. They search for food both in the water such as fish and then also land creatures including birds. They are small animals that average about four feet in length and up to 30 pounds. There are 13 identified species of Otters known.

The structure of the Otter permits them to do the activities in water and on land. Due to this characteristic, the researchers consider that it has been the abilities to adapt the changes in different environments very well. As they are not totally dependent upon one type of living or food, they can easily change their habitation living and food.

Mostly Otters are extremely social and the having great time with together. They are pretty playful so the people want to watch them. They climb up to the hills and slide down from their them and wrestle with each other.

Costa Rica is a Central American country. This advantageous position of being the bridge between the large continents of North and South America means, Costa Rica has an unprecedented amount of diversity among its wildlife. In fact, about 4% of the entire species in the world, or over 500,000 species, are found in Costa Rica alone. Among this spectacular bio-diversity, lies an Otter of the genus Lontra.

There are 13 species of semi-aquatic mammals that fit the definition of an otter. These are characterized by their long yet slim bodies, with shortest appendages and usually webbed paws. The specific species of otter seen in Costa Rica is called the neotropical otter. Since Costa Rica is sandwiched between North and South America, the neotropical otter looks very similar to its northern and southern cousins found on those continents.

The neotropical otter is usually between 90-150 cm long and can weight anything between 5-15 kg. One third of the otter’s body length is just the tail! To spot this otter, all one needs to do is scourge a riverside. The neotropical otter will gladly live in evergreen forests, savannas, pantanal, deciduous forests and llanos, as long as its next to a river. This creature also has a liking for fast streams, and clean and fresh, fast flowing rivers and is rarely spotted near silt-laden sluggish rivers. The neotropical otter also prefers to live alone and feeds on fish and other river crustaceans.

The neotropical otter adorns a lush and rich fur coating, which makes it attractive prey to poachers. This particular species tend to not fear approaching humans which has led to their rapid decline. In the 1970’s alone, over 30,000 otters were being killed yearly for their fur. Thanks to these circumstances, the neotropical otter has been on the endangered species list since 1999.

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