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Creature Feature: River otters

Creature Feature: River otters

River otters seem to embody playfulness as they roll and chase and even wrestle each other in their aquatic habitats. Weighing between 11 and 30 pounds, otters have been in North America for almost two million years per fossil records. Once widely hunted for its waterproof pelt, the otter now faces habitat destruction and water pollution as its main sources of mortality. Being web-footed mammals, otters are excellent swimmers. They prefer a diet of fish and crustaceans and live up to nine years in the wild. Females give birth to one to three “kits” in a den near water and young otters are ready to swim in about two months, taught solely by their mother. Just as the otters, we need clean and plentiful water to thrive.

Photo by Melissa Herrick

Photo by Ruth V. Pannunzio

 



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