Species of the Week: The North American River Otter

This week, our #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis). This playful critter is well adapted to its semi-aquatic life — it has short legs with webbed feet, and a long slim body which helps it to swim efficiently. It also has a thick, water-repellent coat that keeps it warm while swimming in cold waters, allowing it to remain active even in the winter. Since they can only hold their breath underwater for roughly 8 minutes, they rely heavily on openings in the ice in the winter months. River Otters can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, often making their home near the water’s edge in the form of a burrow or den. On land, they can actually run quite well, reaching speeds of up to 24 km/h. They also love to playfully slide down snow- or mud-covered hills, landing in the water with a splash! Their playfulness helps to strengthen their social bonds, while also teaching survival techniques to their young. Have you ever seen a family of otters playing at the water’s edge here in the park? Let us know in the comments!

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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