Author has 304 answers and 147.1K answer views. A 2011 study found 39 anecdotal reports of river otter attacks in North America, 35 of which occurred after 1980. They rape baby seals and hold each other’s pups hostage for food. Another difference between the two species is that sea otters sleep in seawater while river otters snooze on land, preferably that with grasses or other vegetation in which to take refuge; or they may sleep in an underground hideaway. Sampling along the coast of Washington State found more than 70 percent of otters there tested positive for H1N1. Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device. You bet they do! "The saving of the sea otter," writes Glenn Vanblaricom of the University of Washington in his book on the animal, "is indeed one of the great success stories in marine conservation.". It is known as the common otter or northern river otter. They're merciless hellspawn who use their intellects for great evil. Not only did this allow more river herring to migrate upstream, but it also improved the flow of water on the river, creating conditions that are more favorable for river otters. Unfortunately, many otters are killed or injured by cars as they attempt to cross the road from one waterway to another. Their presence symbolizes a balance in an ecosystem, and a habitat healthy enough to support top carnivores. The overall effect isn't that large, but every bit helps, and otters deserve some credit for chipping in. The Onion once ran a wonderful headline: “Black lab has best day of his life for 862nd day in a row.” You could easily apply that to river otters. River otters are semi-aquatic, meaning they can thrive both on land and water. Once in the water, the sea otter gripped the harbor seal’s head with its forepaws and repeatedly bit it on the nose, causing a deep laceration. The two species found in North America are river otters and sea otters, the latter of which are also found in Japan and the Pacific coast of Russia. Trappers loved their dense fur which was designed by nature to insulate otters from cold conditions on land and water. The River Otter Ecology Project’s Otter Spotter citizen science program invites the public to report otter sightings so that otters may be mapped for both the public, and to assist agencies like the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, state and national parks along with wildlife groups. If there Otters habitat is thriving with enough room for them and plenty of food then they may mate more than once in a give season. Otter’s symbolism and meaning reflects the ability to play, and to find renewed joy in your life for balancing out the more stressful or demanding times in life. In 2010, veterinarian Heather Harris and her co-authors Stori Oates, Michelle Staedler, Tim Tinker, David Jessup, James Harvey, and Melissa Miller published an article in Aquatic Mammals documenting about 19 cases of sea otters attacking baby seals. River otters, which may live up to 15 years in the wild, nearly disappeared from the Bay Area due to trapping, hunting and water pollution originating from diminished wetland habitats and increasing land development. The biological name is Lontra Canadensis. Of course, all of this moving around to improve habitat choice increases the chance of being hit by a car. By 2005, that total is expected to reach 4,600. It's likely that fewer than 100 otters existed in Illinois at this time. The otters here are considered to be one of the largest members of the Mustelidae family which includes skunks, badgers, minks and more. What's weirder are a) otters's tendencies to menace baby seals, b) the fact that male otters kill an awful lot of the female otters with whom they copulate, and c) the necrophilia. North American river otters are semiaquatic mammals that do not hibernate when winter comes around. Theories for what's behind the drop range widely, but the US Fish and Wildlife Survey's recovery plan for the species highlights predation, in particular from killer whales, as the most important factor behind the decline. How the US’s Covid-19 death toll compares to that of other wealthy countries. Their cousins, the sea otters who live in seawater, can weigh up to 65 pounds. But as big as giant otters can get, they're still smaller than their ancestors who may have been around the size of a wolf and weighed more than 100 pounds according to a skull archeologists found in China. They are primarily nocturnal, but become more diurnal in winter, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Here's how biologists Heidi Pearson and Randall Davis describe it: A male approached a pup floating on the surface while its mother was diving for food. Sea otters murder even when it doesn't provide them with food or offspring, like straight-up sociopathic spree killers. In Alaska's Aleutian Islands, the species has seen a marked decline since the 1980s. Legend has it they save human lives on occasion: But there comes a point at which rational people have to put adorable hijinks aside and recognize otters for what they are: disease-ridden, murderous, necrophilic aqua-weasels whose treachery knows few bounds. River otters were an essential part of the fur-bearing trade and still are, with China and Russia the biggest consumers, DePerno said. After raping a baby seal to death, this psycho licked his paws, like Hannibal Lecter or something. River otters do not compete with humans for game fish. River otters are crepuscular, meaning they are … DePerno noted that river otters are fierce predators that eat many creatures further down the food chain. The impeachment process to prevent Trump from running in 2024, explained. The season for mating depends on the region where they live. Man, they know how to have fun. The giant otter or giant river otter ( Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Lutrinae contains seven genuses and 12 different species, spanning every continent save Australia and Antarctica; a 13th species, the Japanese river otter, was declared extinct in 2012, like many otter species before it. Hell, Vox.com once employed its own full-time otter enthusiast. One sea otter off the coast of British Columbia apparently raped and murdered a dog. "It’s like a hall of mirrors": The online far right’s disordered response to the storming of the Capitol. While sea otters sleep in the sea, river otters snooze on land, preferably that with grasses or other vegetation in which to take refuge. First, male otters sometimes hold pups ransom to force their mothers to give up some of their food. How Congress can permanently disqualify Trump from office after impeachment. Reyes Seashore have their cache of coots eaten by coyotes. River otters were listed as a state threatened species in 1977. newsletter. Oh, sure they do. More otters -> fewer sea urchins -> more kelp -> less global warming. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts to all who need them. Here's Harris again: Copulation normally occurs in the water where the male sea otter will approach the female from behind, grip her around the chest with his forepaws, and grasp her nose or the side of her face with his teeth.…Facial biting by the male commonly results in the development of skin and soft tissue lacerations of the female's nose and face that can occasionally be fatal.The problem is worse for females, of course, but younger males often mimic mating behavior with each other, which can cause similar injuries. Otters are mammals of the subfamily Lutrinae, one of two subfamilies contained within the family Mustelidae. Thus you need to let go of all your daily concerns. That means heavy metals bioaccumulate and biomagnify in them. Otter Breeding and Reproduction. As the sea otter thrust his pelvis, his penis was extruded and intromission was observed. The otter’s thick coat is made of guard hair and an undercoat. If you’re on a river in the middle of the North American continent, far away from any seaboard: it’s a river otter. River otters (the scientific name is Lontra canadensis) live in lots of different waterways, including freshwater streams, ponds, estuaries and along the coast. Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. And I guess I get the appeal. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft). Otters can be mean, and they can be kind, it depends on the individual otter’s personality. According to Megan Isadore, data collected from the River Otter Ecology Project from 2012 to present times has shown 300-600 otter sightings per year, many of which originate in Napa County. Reports from the public inform scientists and wildlife groups as to where otters thrive, as well as where they may be in peril. Baby ones raised in captivity squeak when introduced to water for the first time. That’s where the Otter Spotter citizen science program comes in handy. Two male North American river otters made their debut at the Wild Center’s Otter Falls exhibit on June 22. Included in the lengthy list of flora and fauna is the North American river otter. Since the City of San Marcos shut down all public access to the river in late June, many suggested fewer people on the river meant more otters were coming out to play. Conversely, in the dry summer months when some of the creeks and wetlands dry up, Napa’s river otters travel to better habitats, where they pursue other rivers, creeks or lakes. Giant river otters hunt in packs of nine and hunt together, garnering them the nickname "lobos de río" or "river wolves." However, otters can be aggressive when necessary. However, groups also mean they … Indeed, trauma is the norm from sea otter mating, not the exception. While the governments of the US, Canada, Japan, and Russia signed a treaty banning the hunting of sea otters, it took the Endangered Species Act — under which sea otters gained protection in 1977 — for a recovery to begin in earnest. The online far right is angry, exultant, and ready for more. During the webinar, I discovered that the river otters now thriving in and amongst Napa County’s three watersheds are only one of 13 otter species in the world. For the record, I'm not actually against attempts to save sea otters as a species. Spunky fish-chomping river otters who faced extinction in Colorado and other Western states are bouncing back -- evidence that keeping waterways clean and … Since they are carnivores, they feast upon amphibians, fish, grebes, gulls, coots and shellfish. What does it mean to be born under the otter sign? the fight against catastrophic climate change, How the Capitol riot revived calls to reform Section 230, Here are the few Republicans who have called for Trump’s removal, Kamala Harris’s Vogue cover controversy, explained, Amazon employees want right-wing militia merchandise taken down, No Senate Republicans have backed an impeachment conviction — yet, Here’s how Covid-19 ranks among the worst plagues in history. Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that empowers you through understanding. In this case, Otter symbolism is insisting that you take the time to allow yourself the freedom and comfort of relaxing. Fine, fine, I'll give them this much: they appear to be helpful in the fight against catastrophic climate change. 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