River otters belong to the weasel family. The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, cr… The giant river otters have also been noted to feed on small anacondas and caimans. The diet of Aonyx capensis primarily includes water-dwelling animals, such as crabs, fish, frogs and worms. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. They hunt singly or in pairs and although otters generally forage in water, they are equally at home on land, sometimes traveling between 10 and 18 miles (16 and 29 kilometers) in search of food. In South America, the neotropical otter preys on small fishes, while the giant otter preys on larger species. Major reasons for its rescue is due to boat accidents, water contamination, waterfront development, poaching, and the illegal pet trade. the river otter is opportunistic as it consumes … Cape clawless and Asian small-clawed otters feed mainly on crabs and other crustaceans, molluscs, and frogs. This species does not store food. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. Of these, scientists have determined that the Asian small-clawed otter eats mainly crabs, the smooth otter relies primarily on large fishes, and the Eurasian otter feeds mainly on smaller fishes and amphibians. Cape clawless otters have been observed using rocks and other hard objects to break open mussel shells. Canadian Journal of Zoology: Seasonal Diet of the Northern River Otter (Lontra Canadensis): What Drives Prey Selection? Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Well, carrying on from this, I thought that I would follow-up with the initial results from a personal study. It is a carnivore , hunting other animals for its food. They dive after prey to catch it, then swim to shore again, where they eat. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! A river otter’s diet consists largely of fish. Fish are a favorite food, but they also eat amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Regardless of its playful nature, the river otter is still a carnivore that feeds on other animals. For this reason, the river otter must consume food often. The species of fish will vary depending on the location and habitat. They normally eat small fishes in the water, and bring larger prey to shore. An otter's high metabolic rate - important for generating body heat - requires a substantial amount food. River otters do not store food or hibernate in winter. They will feed on fish, invertebrates, frogs, clams, crayfish, and small mammals or birds. Go behind-the-scenes to see how our trainers care for and interact with these amazing animals, and get up close with some finned, flippered, or feathered friends. The North American river otters are carnivores, they eat mainly aquatic animals such as amphibians, turtles, fish, crayfish, crabs, and other species of invertebrates. I posted last week about the dietary habits of the Otter (Lutra lutra). The Diet of Otters on the River Petteril. River otters can be considered opportunistic aquatic piscivorous carnivores, although they consume other animal products other animal material including: crustaceans, crayfish, freshwater mussles, amphibians, birds, mammals and a variety of fish species (Sucker fish, Carp, Minnows, Pike, Sunfish, Catfish, Perches, Bass), based on the work by Stearn & Serfass (2010). 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. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. They have a very high metabolism, so they need to … River otters (Lontra canadensis) are amphibious mammals known for their swimming ability. Today, reintroduction efforts and stricter environmental regulation aid the increasing numbers of river otters. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. Learn more about the Seasonal Camp Counselor program at SeaWorld. Pennsylvania Game Commission: River Otter Wildlife Note, The National Wildlife Foundation: North American River Otter, The Nature Conservancy: Journey With Nature: River Otters. River otters can be found throughout much of the United States, Canada and Mexico around the Rio Grande and Colorado River deltas. In Thailand, the ranges of at least three otter species overlap. A lifelong writer, Dianne is also a content manager and science fiction & fantasy novelist. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family.While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. Sea otters dive to the ocean floor to retrieve food. Come with us on an unforgettable journey behind the scenes during a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens Camp. Two or more otter species occupying the same geographical area usually have different food habits. River otters are apex predators in their food web. Sea otters eat about 25% to 30% of their weight. Alaska's Sea-Otter Decline Affects Health of Kelp Forests and Diet of Eagles. Back to top. River otters play the role of apex predators, so the river otter food web represents great importance to many watersheds. Otters may also occasionally prey on birds, rabbits, and rodents. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). A sea otter's diet consists mainly of slow-moving fishes and marine invertebrates including crabs, sea urchins, abalones, clams, mussels, and snails. River otters reach sexual maturity at two years. River otters use their fine sense of smell on land; below the water, their eyesight is far keener. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. This is the first direct confirmation of Asian carp in the diet of wild river otters. Birds and birds’ eggs, as well as small terrestrial mammals may also be eaten. Underwater, the river otter swims as fast as 7 miles per hour with considerable grace and agility, necessary for catching prey. The adult river otters are known to eat 1 – 1.5 kg (2.2 0 3.3 lb) of fish each day. North American river otters get their boundless energy from their very high metabolism, which also requires that they eat a great deal during the day. Diet. Congo clawless otters probably feed on fairly soft prey items such as small land vertebrates, frogs, and eggs. The giant river otters are excellent predators. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. This species River otters' diets consist largely of crayfishes, crabs, and other aquatic invertebrates; fishes; and frogs. The bulk of the river otter’s diet is fish; however, otters are opportunistic and will feed on a variety of prey depending on availability and ease of capture. D ANIELS, R. A. Shellfish-eating clawless otters catch prey with their paws. Biol., 15:449–453. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. River otters possess special valves to seal their ears and noses while they swim underwater. Without river otters, entire watershed food webs would suffer. River otters eat a variety of aquatic wildlife, such as fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds’ eggs, birds and reptiles such as turtles. They catch prey with their teeth. The few natural river otter predators include bears, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and dogs. Favorite foods include fish, frogs, crayfish, snakes, turtles, amphibians, birds and small mammals. Small mammals in the river otter food chain include mice, immature beavers and muskrats. The giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the largest member of the mustelid family, which includes otters, weasels, and ferrets, and are by far the loudest member of the group.Giant river otters are very sociable and live in families of between 3-10 individuals that hunt together. Giant otters in the wild can eat caiman, piranhas, and anacondas. The river otter food web maintains great biodiversity. Food preferences vary among individuals. Their high metabolisms result in rapid food digestion. The long whiskers around their noses, called vibrissae, aid in food searches in murkier waters. A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. River otters help thin invasive species and protect biodiversity. 1996. The people of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment are truly and deeply driven to inspire on behalf of, to celebrate and connect with, and to care for the natural world we all share. – but our river systems still require extensive habitat management to restore them to a healthy level that can sustain fish stocks and wildlife. Guide to the identification of scales of inland fishes of northeastern North America. These mammals have whiskers, which they use to spot their prey by detecting vibrations in the water. This allows them to feed even in murky waters. Despite concern that otters compete with game fishers, the … River otters are strong, unmatched swimmers in their environments, and on land they can run at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. River otters eat 15% to 20% of their total body weight each day. Wildl. They use their long whiskers when swimming underwater to feel for the movement of their prey. Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. This behavior may reduce competition in the California population. In addition to fish and crayfish, river otters will feed on other readily available prey. They catch prey in their forepaws then bring it to the surface. Diet of the North American River Otter The North American River Otter is an animal with a very high metabolism, so it must eat quite often. Otters living in captivity largely prefer to consume bigger fish with the size of 15 – 17 cm (5.9 – 6.7 inches). The thesis research of Melissa Skyer at the Rochester Institute of… While River Otters are ichthyophagous, meaning that they mainly eat fish, their diet can also consist of crustaceans, small mammals, reptiles, and small birds as seen in this video. Giant otters often hold their prey in their paws while eating it. Typically such dens are makeshift, from log piles or similar natural sources, but often they will use former beaver or nutria dens as well. River otters can live up to about 10 years in the wild. River Otter Adoption $ 100.00. River otters take different fish species according to their availability and how well the fish can escape capture. Their thick fur made them highly prized for their swimming ability 2.2 0 3.3 lb ) Inc.... These otters are apex predators in their food web, crabs, fish, frogs, and frogs 14. 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