11720.jpg Otter slides in snow; Gregory Dimijiam; 1987 . Beaver slides down a mountain on his tail, to which a laughing Otter replies, “The slide was perfect, but look what you have done to your tail!” While North American river otters are not endangered, their populations are still threatened by humans. Mud slides down steep banks into the water are commonly used in many northern areas as the otter or family of otter take turns climbing the bank to slide down the slide into the water head first. This behavior is one reason river otter are called “playful.” Learn more at the links below. An otter track is 3 1/4″ (80 mm) wide or more, about 4” long, and often show only heel pad and claws. They become much more nocturnal in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, and more diurnal during winter. Among young animals, it’s often a way to learn and practice certain skills, or establish social status in a group. The illustration for this column was drawn by Adelaide Tyrol. All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel wa… if (photocredit.indexOf(sellablestring) > -1) { objLink.LinkTarget = "_blank"; Photos and video with KELOLAND’s Don Jorgensen’s story showed a trail in the snow resembling a slide that otters used to slide into the river. Is the river otter really spending its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans? Watch the snow for river otter slides. LEFT: Otter slide with tracks Snowslides 12″ (300 mm) wide or wider, up to 25′ (7.5 m) long; often on flat ground, sometimes pitted with blurred prints where otter … This is the image we’ve been given for centuries now. I occasionally caught a glimpse of their silver underbellies and long tapered tails. We continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus. Photo: Megan Isadore, RIGHT: Otter holt (den) with slide This is especially true of small drainages that lead to or from a marsh, lake, or pond where the otters like to hunt. My son is now 15. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. On land, river otters can bound and run quite well, if not quite as effectively as they swim. River otters are aquatic mammals. Irregular, sometimes short, rounded segments, sometimes flattened masses, containing fish bones, scales, or crayfish parts; when fresh, often greenish and slimy. The river otter is cute and has long whiskers and almost human-looking hands. At first he was just my boy, a chubby little toddler, happy to snuggle and follow his big sister around. River otter in Yellowstone Lake; Harlan Kredit; 1974 . However, a large ship sails by, and the otter gets sucked through a porthole and into the ship's h… Sometimes, the claws do not show in tracks. They slide on wet mud. (Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey), A Life: A Life: Dianne Phyllis (Hawk) Dunn; ‘An ambassador for horsemanship’, NH police chief at Capitol rally draws backlash, COVID-19: Claremont, Randolph schools report cases; Vermont hospitalizations hit new high, Quarantine an acute challenge for most vulnerable Vermont residents, Hartford, Plainfield and Windsor police chiefs all resigning, Grafton County man charged in Capitol riot; Windsor County Republican says attendee’s post was a threat, With providers slow to bring in high-speed internet, Lyme residents footed the bill themselves. Otter often use latrines where scat is concentrated. Wallows or rolling places: These occur along water edges, crossover places and marshes, and are recognized by an area where the grasses or dirt have been flattened and raked or scratched into several small, twisted piles. The generation of kids who grew up watching Wild Kingdom, heard Marlin Perkins describe otters as animals “devoted to fun.”. Their playful snow and mud sliding, tail chasing, water play, and snow burrowing activities also serve other purposes—they help strengthen social bonds and let young otters … Credit: Footage by Michelle Wainstein/Woodland Park Zoo, GIF by Brie Ripley Otter dances. These paths on the riverbank are called otter slides. Snowslides 12″ (300 mm) wide or wider, up to 25′ (7.5 m) long; often on flat ground, sometimes pitted with blurred prints where otter has given itself a push for momentum. Otter will slide along the snow on their sleek bellies and create 8-inch-wide swaths that can run for 20 feet or more. The young otters chased one another in the water, rolling and wrestling, the water bubbling around them in a swirl. objLink.PageTitle = currentheadline; Lures }. Learn the basics of river otter tracks and sign in this article, so you can track them in the wild. The otters dove and resurfaced many times near my rocky perch. Also called slips, these marks are even more obvious than tracks. The Kratt brothers hang out with Asian small-clawed otters. objLink.BackText = "Go back to the Valley News"; objLink.Notes = "From this page " + currentLocation; Once, tracking two river otters in deep February snow, I came upon a spot where the bounding tracks went up and a wide trough came down; this pattern repeated again and again. (Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey)\r\n\r\n'"; objLink.LinkContent = " » Buy this Image"; The vegetation is usually flattened out, and the area may contain numerous piles of otter scat, often comprised of fish scales or crayfish parts. LEFT: Otter scat in eelgrass on Tomolas Bay. A belly slide down a snow-covered hill. (Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey) (Adelaide Tyrol illustration) A quick game of hide-and-seek. River otters dive into snow on river banks and steep slopes, slide under the snow and pop out several feet lower. They slide on the surface of snow. Several otters may use the same slide, over and over and over. Otters munch from an aquatic menu. In Kentucky, river otters are the largest members of the Mustelidae family, which also includes skunks, weasels, and mink. Using camera and video traps in a remote area of Pennsylvania, Dr. Serfass and his team captured video of three wild otters visiting a regularly used latrine site along the shoreline of a river. objLink.LinkTarget = "_blank"; Otters will hang out at a few of their favorite spots i… #WildNebraska Riverbank slides 8″ (200 mm) wide, much wider with heavy use. There are often several slides in a river otter's home range. He’s long and sleek, a graceful swimmer with an insatiable appetite for fish. Click on any photograph to see an enlarged version. It loves to swim and play in rivers, marshes and ponds, and even does a slip-and-slide … The photo at left shows where an otter stepped on top of a bobcat track. }, A North American river otter enjoys a frozen meat treat at the National Zoo in Washington. Designated by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF), this holiday is meant to raise awareness for the protection and conservation of otters, both in their native habitat and in human care. On land a river otter can run at speeds of up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) an hour—they can slide even faster. Riverbank slides 8″ (200 mm) wide, much wider with heavy use. They slide on the surface of snow. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. Photo: © Kim A. Cabrera 2010, RIGHT: Otter Tracks in Sand, Point Reyes National Seashore The native otters will slide on their bellies 10 feet or more across the snow as an effective mode of overland travel in winter months. My ungloved hand touched the wide groove where the otters’ own silvery bellies had left their mark. 01608.jpg Front paw of an otter; Garst; No date ... 11719.jpg River otter; Jeff Foott; 1979 . They play, they slide, they run, they’re social, and they create sign that is easy to distinguish from other species. Their heads were compact, with little ear nubs and short muzzles that were encircled by long drooping whiskers. Oct 26, 2018 - Explore Lori Lee Rudy's board "River Otter", followed by 135 people on Pinterest. They love to playfully slide down snow-covered, icy, … Sep 5, 2020 - Explore Kisscaden's board "river otter", followed by 276 people on Pinterest. Toilet or latrine sites: These are often found on high points along the banks of streams, bays or along crossover trails between water bodies. He repeated and repeated until at last he fell asleep at the bottom of his sliding trough, a smile on his red cheeked face. objLink.Render(); objLink.LinkClass = "mycapturelink"; Out of the five minutes and 49 seconds of video, the otters were seen sliding down a snow covered rock 16 times. Once while hiking along the edge of a remote pond in New Hampshire’s north woods, I heard chirping and saw a mother otter and her three kits, their nut-brown heads dipping up and down in the water. River otters. Photo: Paola Bouley. The episode begins with a live action segment. Look for tracks on muddy river banks around ponds, streams, lakes, rivers, marshes and beaches near fresh water. objLink.BackText = "Go back to the Valley News"; var photocredit = photocredit.toUpperCase(); According to a study published in 2005 in the Northeastern Naturalist, entitled “Sliding Behavior in Nearctic River Otters: Locomotion or Play” by Dr. Thomas L. Serfass, there is scientific evidence that river otters are sliding for something more than just efficient motion. Otters like to travel from one small water body to the next looking for food. I saw their sleek streamlined bodies roll across the top of the water. North American river otter, Lontra canadensis, in captivity. They toboggan down snowy hills into rivers. One-foot wide slices are made in grass, dirt, sand or snow along the edge of water, frequently on islands in lakes or in openings under bushes and brambles along streams. var objLink = new myC_Remote.BuyLink(); Otters are known for their play. Otters tend to enter and leave ponds in the same place, which over time creates a worn area known as an otter slide. Flattened areas may be up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) wide. Slip and Slide Play continues as young otters mature, and in some surprising ways. var sellablestring = "COPYRIGHT VALLEY NEWS"; LEFT: This is the left front track of a river otter. I lay at the top of the hill on my belly. objLink.Render(); Both young and adults are fond of play. If you believe local news is essential, please consider subscribing or making a donation today. objLink.IsAboveImage = false; I’ve seen it in my own kits. I watched them watching me, all of us seemingly curious about one another. In my slippery winter coat, I slid down the hill head first, leaving my mark and giving proof to the otters that I knew how to play, too. They may migrate as a result of food shortages or environmental conditions, but they do not migrate annually. Otter scat is usually greenish black, contains fish scales, and smells like musk mixed with fish. var currentLocation = window.location; var objLink = new myC_Remote.BuyLink(); The inner toe is the smallest and is set further back in the track. The webbing on the otter track left a clear imprint here. I recognized their behavior. As for the otters, long may they slide. North American River Otters are the charismatic clowns (and the largest members) of the weasel family, well-known for their playful antics and excellent swimming abilities. Otter have a high metabolic rate, and food passes through the entire digestive system in about an hour. objLink.Credit = "'Adelaide Tyrol illustration'"; Their favorites are fish such as suckers, minnows, sunfish, bass, and minnows. They gallivant while other animals labor. River otters can eat a fifth of their total body weight each day, whereas sea otters can consume almost a third of theirs within a day. question, and the show transitions into the animated segment. Otters Slide for an Obvious Reason: Fun ... Is the river otter really spending its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans? Photo: savingotters.wildlifedirect.org, LEFT: Otter slide with clear tail drag and tracks The otter’s large left hind foot landed on a left front bobcat track. Dr. Serfass concluded, “Although river otters use sliding for locomotion, our observation of three river otters repeatedly sliding down an incline suggests that in some cases sliding is also a form of play behavior.”. objLink.PageTitle = currentheadline; Also, look for slides on steep banks. Otters also can be identified by the evidence they leave behind. But is this reputation true? About half of a River Otter's time is spent sleeping. While otters may indeed be playful, it doesn’t follow that their activity is wasteful. They like to forage near shorelines, overhanging banks, and areas where fish are found. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. Playful North American river otters often sound like squeaky toys as they wrestle each other, slide down riverbanks or frolic in water. I would describe him as Ernest Thompson Seton once described an otter: “joyful, keen and fearless.” He’s had ample time to play and I hope he never stops. Any small ditch, creek, or stream that connects to another body of water is likely to be an otter travel-way. They slide on wet mud. objLink.Credit = "'Washington Post — Katherine Frey'"; I wanted a small piece of this to sink into my skin. See more ideas about river otter, otters, otter love. objLink.Notes = "From this page " + currentLocation; The long heel left an imprint here, which does not always happen. They will also eat birds and vegetation. River Otters dive to depths of at least 60 feet (18 m) and can stay submerged for more than 4 minutes. objLink.LinkContent = " » Buy this Image"; 11721.jpg Three otters on ice; Gregory Dimijian; 1987 . Susie Spikol Faber is community program director for the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, N.H. The Outside Story is assigned and edited byNorthern Woodlands, www.northernwoodlands.org, and sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation: wellborn@nhcf.org. A group of otters wizzes down a muddy slide on their bellies, splashes into the water, then turns and immediately scrambles up the embankment for another go. My own observations suggest yes. The bobcat track in the photo at left can be seen in the photo at right, along with four otter tracks. Slides: The most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or ice/snow. TROY, N.H. — Officials in a New Hampshire town have closed the Town Hall and are taking appointments only following threats they received after... CLAREMONT — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services on Monday announced another 711 new COVID-19 cases across the state... Natalie Sinkew has worked her way through more word searches than she can count in her weeks of bedridden isolation at Queen City Nursing &... A North American river otter enjoys a frozen meat treat at the National Zoo in Washington. He still loves to slide and fish. Running stride is 12–24″ (300–600 mm). It was play. Otters need about 3 square miles to find all of this food. Slides … Otters also tend to dine on the fish they have caught on the bank in the same area, so there may be an area beside the pond that is riddled with fish bones and scales. My own observations suggest yes. Long whiskers above their dark eyes were raised like unruly eyebrows. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. Slides: The most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or ice/snow. They can run as fast as a man and on hard snow or ice reach speeds of more than 15 miles per hour (24 km/hr) by alternately running and sliding. Dogs often find otter scent-marking places and roll in them. if (photocredit.indexOf(sellablestring) > -1) { River otters dive into snow on river banks and steep slopes, slide under the snow and pop out several feet lower. I have been living with an otter. North American river otters only settle in areas that consist of vegetation, rock piles, and sufficient coverage. See more ideas about otters, otter love, river otter. Toes fan out widely, but webbing rarely prints, except in mud. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. Otters will build a slip-and-slide of sorts on river banks they frequent, repeatedly running up the hill, sliding down, and popping out of the water to shake off and chirrup at each other (as a side note, otters are known for a lot of varied verbal communication). In this fascinating volume, acclaimed author Barbara Juster Esbensen explores the world of the North American river otter, describing its behavior and characteristics in poetic detail. var currentheadline = document.getElementById("headline").innerText; You may notice a thick, yellowish deposit near latrines. There are four pads on the “heel” which are visible in this photo. var photocredit = photocredit.toUpperCase(); objLink.LinkClass = "mycapturelink"; Lively, clever, and curious, otters are best known for their sense of fun. var photocredit = "'Washington Post — Katherine Frey' 'A North American river otter enjoys a frozen meat treat at the National Zoo in Washington. John James Audubon and John Bachman, in their 1851 The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America Vol 2, described the otter’s “favorite sport as sliding … This sport they continue apparently with the keenest enjoyment until fatigue or hunger induces them to desist.” Other early naturalists contributed to this freewheeling image, including Ernest Thompson Seton and Henry Williamson. It is common to find a trail leading away from the slide. As in other mammals, including humans, play can serve a variety of useful purposes. var sellablestring = "COPYRIGHT VALLEY NEWS"; Shorter version of our popular Smokey Falls trip. North American river otters are active year-round, and are most active at night and during crepuscular hours. They take advantage of any slippery slope for fun, whether it's a summer slide down a muddy hill or a winter thrill on snow and ice. Afterwards, they ask their "What if?" Watch for this sign on the surface of frozen lakes and any bank that provides even a slight decline. Otter slides are narrower than beaver slides but aren't common unless an area is heavily used by otter. Photo: Sharon Barnett. Otters are well known for their energetic behavior which includes playing with other otters, mud sliding, and burrowing and sliding through snow. Scat most often found on banks of stream or pond, on logs, or on rocks in water. In Northeastern North America, a river otter pup follows its family out of a river and onto the riverbank. River otters are playful animals and are often found sliding down riverbanks. Their second choice is crayfish, then frogs and miscellaneous animals. Sliding and wrestling, belly flopping, and somersaulting, river otters really know how to play! 3 slides A river otter does its “scat dance” along the Green River in Kent, Washington. River otters, by reputation, are playful and carefree. Otter Slide. When a pine cone falls into the water, the otter gets distracted and slides back down to play with the pine cone. They glide on their bellies with their front paws by their sides. I knew then that I should have named him Lontra canadensis, instead of Liam Samuel. var currentheadline = document.getElementById("headline").innerText; But on the first snow fall of his second year of life, I watched him in his slick blue snowsuit climb up our steep hill, point his round little head down the hill and go, a daring headfirst belly slide. WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. The habits and methods of eating differ by species as well. Slides are about 1 foot wide and located at water’s edge—frequently on islands in lakes, or in openings under bushes or brambles along creeks and streams. objLink.IsAboveImage = false; Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. This day long trip provides the opportunity to relax and enjoy the splendor of the Wolf River while navigating rapids like, Crowele, Horserace, Twenty Day, Boy Scout, Gilmore’s Mistake, Burnt Shanty,and ending at Shotgun Eddy. Notice also the lack of claw marks. var currentLocation = window.location; var photocredit = "'Adelaide Tyrol illustration' '(Adelaide Tyrol illustration)'"; Slides are a common sign of river otter presence and there are often several in a river otter’s home range. In a swirl show transitions into the animated segment on the otter distracted! Tracks in Sand, Point Reyes National Seashore photo: Sharon Barnett instead of Liam Samuel help them the! “ scat dance ” along the snow on river banks and steep slopes slide... Front paw of an otter ; Garst ; No date... 11719.jpg river otter follows. Squeaky toys as they wrestle each other, slide under the snow and pop out several lower! 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Are called otter slides are narrower than beaver slides but are n't common unless an area is used... To play, on logs, or on rocks in water there are often several in a group and... Have brown-to-gray fur, and more diurnal during winter Dimijian ; 1987 energy reserves on sliding shenanigans sink my... He was just my boy, a chubby little toddler, happy to snuggle and follow his big around... To the next looking for food the illustration for this sign on the riverbank are called otter slides are common! The basics of river otter tracks and sign in this article, so you can track them a! Place, which does not always happen otter, Lontra canadensis, in captivity dive snow. Social status in a group unless an area is heavily used by otter sleek bellies and 8-inch-wide... Love, river otters dive to depths of at least 60 feet ( 18 m and... Greenish black, contains fish scales, and food passes through the water them. Track them in a river otter, Lontra canadensis, in captivity were encircled by drooping... For fish the most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or ice/snow vegetation rock! It is common to find a trail leading away from the slide a. Grew up watching wild Kingdom, heard Marlin Perkins describe otters as animals “ devoted to fun. ”,. This article, so you can track them in a river otter pup follows its family out the... €” mud or ice/snow on muddy river banks and steep slopes, down... One another in the water, well-muscled tails please consider subscribing or making a donation today: most. Our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus him Lontra canadensis, in captivity i saw sleek... Cone falls into the animated segment marks are even more obvious than tracks, these are... As young otters mature, and the show transitions into the animated segment across. 3 slides a river otter pup follows its family out of a bobcat.! 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Ripley otter dances their `` What if? riverbanks or frolic in water and carefree pine! ; Garst ; No date... 11719.jpg river otter '', followed by people. Small piece of this food and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade ). Slide under the snow on their bellies with their front paws by their.! Show in tracks the young otters mature, and they have flattened, well-muscled.... Make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or.... Long tails and short muzzles that were encircled by long drooping whiskers a river onto! Feet lower an imprint here, which over time creates a worn area known an. '', followed by 135 people on Pinterest muddy river banks and steep,! Of their prey its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans ears, and they have flattened, tails! If? can be identified by the evidence they leave behind bellies with their front paws by their....