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. Long whiskers above their dark eyes were raised like unruly eyebrows. objLink.LinkClass = "mycapturelink"; Photo: Paola Bouley. It loves to swim and play in rivers, marshes and ponds, and even does a slip-and-slide … They glide on their bellies with their front paws by their sides. 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. Otter will slide along the snow on their sleek bellies and create 8-inch-wide swaths that can run for 20 feet or more. I wanted a small piece of this to sink into my skin. 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. objLink.LinkTarget = "_blank"; They toboggan down snowy hills into rivers. On land a river otter can run at speeds of up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) an hour—they can slide even faster. Slides are a common sign of river otter presence and there are often several in a river otter’s home range. He’s long and sleek, a graceful swimmer with an insatiable appetite for fish. 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. objLink.BackText = "Go back to the Valley News"; var photocredit = photocredit.toUpperCase(); if (photocredit.indexOf(sellablestring) > -1) { Otters like to travel from one small water body to the next looking for food. When a pine cone falls into the water, the otter gets distracted and slides back down to play with the pine cone. Playful North American river otters often sound like squeaky toys as they wrestle each other, slide down riverbanks or frolic in water. But is this reputation true? var currentheadline = document.getElementById("headline").innerText; Afterwards, they ask their "What if?" Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. 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. Riverbank slides 8″ (200 mm) wide, much wider with heavy use. In Kentucky, river otters are the largest members of the Mustelidae family, which also includes skunks, weasels, and mink. Slides: The most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or ice/snow. The otters dove and resurfaced many times near my rocky perch. Otter Slide. Otters munch from an aquatic menu. 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. Otter have a high metabolic rate, and food passes through the entire digestive system in about an hour. objLink.Notes = "From this page " + currentLocation; If you believe local news is essential, please consider subscribing or making a donation today. The otter’s large left hind foot landed on a left front bobcat track. 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. I’ve seen it in my own kits. Toilet or latrine sites: These are often found on high points along the banks of streams, bays or along crossover trails between water bodies. I occasionally caught a glimpse of their silver underbellies and long tapered tails. River Otters dive to depths of at least 60 feet (18 m) and can stay submerged for more than 4 minutes. Photo: Megan Isadore, RIGHT: Otter holt (den) with slide Otter often use latrines where scat is concentrated. var photocredit = "'Washington Post — Katherine Frey' 'A North American river otter enjoys a frozen meat treat at the National Zoo in Washington. River otters are playful animals and are often found sliding down riverbanks. 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. var photocredit = photocredit.toUpperCase(); River otters dive into snow on river banks and steep slopes, slide under the snow and pop out several feet lower. They gallivant while other animals labor. 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. WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. Photo: Sharon Barnett. LEFT: Otter slide with tracks The bobcat track in the photo at left can be seen in the photo at right, along with four otter tracks. 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. 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. Learn more at the links below. Their favorites are fish such as suckers, minnows, sunfish, bass, and minnows. Their second choice is crayfish, then frogs and miscellaneous animals. var currentLocation = window.location; Several otters may use the same slide, over and over and over. 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. 3 slides A river otter does its “scat dance” along the Green River in Kent, Washington. Susie Spikol Faber is community program director for the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, N.H. var currentLocation = window.location; 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. 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. He still loves to slide and fish. Shorter version of our popular Smokey Falls trip. The webbing on the otter track left a clear imprint here. objLink.PageTitle = currentheadline; Is the river otter really spending its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans? Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. I lay at the top of the hill on my belly. Learn the basics of river otter tracks and sign in this article, so you can track them in the wild. objLink.Render(); See more ideas about otters, otter love, river otter. }. In Northeastern North America, a river otter pup follows its family out of a river and onto the riverbank. The habits and methods of eating differ by species as well. You may notice a thick, yellowish deposit near latrines. North American river otters only settle in areas that consist of vegetation, rock piles, and sufficient coverage. These paths on the riverbank are called otter slides. Otters tend to enter and leave ponds in the same place, which over time creates a worn area known as an otter slide. As in other mammals, including humans, play can serve a variety of useful purposes. They will also eat birds and vegetation. Otters are known for their play. Photo: © Kim A. Cabrera 2010, RIGHT: Otter Tracks in Sand, Point Reyes National Seashore Out of the five minutes and 49 seconds of video, the otters were seen sliding down a snow covered rock 16 times. This is the image we’ve been given for centuries now. Watch the snow for river otter slides. They slide on the surface of snow. All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. if (photocredit.indexOf(sellablestring) > -1) { Flattened areas may be up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) wide. Slides … The inner toe is the smallest and is set further back in the track. 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. The long heel left an imprint here, which does not always happen. Lively, clever, and curious, otters are best known for their sense of fun. Otters need about 3 square miles to find all of this food. He repeated and repeated until at last he fell asleep at the bottom of his sliding trough, a smile on his red cheeked face. (Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey) They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. Also called slips, these marks are even more obvious than tracks. A belly slide down a snow-covered hill. See more ideas about river otter, otters, otter love. var sellablestring = "COPYRIGHT VALLEY NEWS"; 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 … (Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey)\r\n\r\n'"; The young otters chased one another in the water, rolling and wrestling, the water bubbling around them in a swirl. objLink.Credit = "'Adelaide Tyrol illustration'"; question, and the show transitions into the animated segment. I have been living with an otter. It is common to find a trail leading away from the slide. They like to forage near shorelines, overhanging banks, and areas where fish are found. River otter in Yellowstone Lake; Harlan Kredit; 1974 . Watch for this sign on the surface of frozen lakes and any bank that provides even a slight decline. Among young animals, it’s often a way to learn and practice certain skills, or establish social status in a group. Click on any photograph to see an enlarged version. The vegetation is usually flattened out, and the area may contain numerous piles of otter scat, often comprised of fish scales or crayfish parts. Dogs often find otter scent-marking places and roll in them. The river otter is cute and has long whiskers and almost human-looking hands. They love to playfully slide down snow-covered, icy, … objLink.BackText = "Go back to the Valley News"; They play, they slide, they run, they’re social, and they create sign that is easy to distinguish from other species. My own observations suggest yes. objLink.Render(); Notice also the lack of claw marks. Oct 26, 2018 - Explore Lori Lee Rudy's board "River Otter", followed by 135 people on Pinterest. River otters dive into snow on river banks and steep slopes, slide under the snow and pop out several feet lower. My own observations suggest yes. 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 … 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). An otter track is 3 1/4″ (80 mm) wide or more, about 4” long, and often show only heel pad and claws. North American river otters are active year-round, and are most active at night and during crepuscular hours. Any small ditch, creek, or stream that connects to another body of water is likely to be an otter travel-way. Slides: The most obvious and best-known evidence of otters — mud or ice/snow. A quick game of hide-and-seek. (Adelaide Tyrol illustration) 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. Their heads were compact, with little ear nubs and short muzzles that were encircled by long drooping whiskers. It was play. They may migrate as a result of food shortages or environmental conditions, but they do not migrate annually. They become much more nocturnal in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, and more diurnal during winter. 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. Otters will hang out at a few of their favorite spots i… I saw their sleek streamlined bodies roll across the top of the water. objLink.LinkClass = "mycapturelink"; The photo at left shows where an otter stepped on top of a bobcat track. Toes fan out widely, but webbing rarely prints, except in mud. 11720.jpg Otter slides in snow; Gregory Dimijiam; 1987 . North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. #WildNebraska We continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at www.vnews.com/coronavirus. Otter slides are narrower than beaver slides but aren't common unless an area is heavily used by otter. objLink.Notes = "From this page " + currentLocation; }, A North American river otter enjoys a frozen meat treat at the National Zoo in Washington. objLink.LinkTarget = "_blank"; The generation of kids who grew up watching Wild Kingdom, heard Marlin Perkins describe otters as animals “devoted to fun.”. objLink.IsAboveImage = false; The episode begins with a live action segment. My son is now 15. 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. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel wa… North American river otter, Lontra canadensis, in captivity. var currentheadline = document.getElementById("headline").innerText; 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. 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. var sellablestring = "COPYRIGHT VALLEY NEWS"; They slide on the surface of snow. Slip and Slide Play continues as young otters mature, and in some surprising ways. LEFT: This is the left front track of a river otter. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. LEFT: Otter scat in eelgrass on Tomolas Bay. 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. Photo: savingotters.wildlifedirect.org, LEFT: Otter slide with clear tail drag and tracks They slide on wet mud. Both young and adults are fond of play. 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. River otters, by reputation, are playful and carefree. Otters also can be identified by the evidence they leave behind. Sliding and wrestling, belly flopping, and somersaulting, river otters really know how to play! objLink.PageTitle = currentheadline; My ungloved hand touched the wide groove where the otters’ own silvery bellies had left their mark. Sep 5, 2020 - Explore Kisscaden's board "river otter", followed by 276 people on Pinterest. Look for tracks on muddy river banks around ponds, streams, lakes, rivers, marshes and beaches near fresh water. I watched them watching me, all of us seemingly curious about one another. There are four pads on the “heel” which are visible in this photo. 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. var photocredit = "'Adelaide Tyrol illustration' '(Adelaide Tyrol illustration)'"; (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. While otters may indeed be playful, it doesn’t follow that their activity is wasteful. Otters Slide for an Obvious Reason: Fun ... Is the river otter really spending its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans? Credit: Footage by Michelle Wainstein/Woodland Park Zoo, GIF by Brie Ripley Otter dances. On land, river otters can bound and run quite well, if not quite as effectively as they swim. Riverbank slides 8″ (200 mm) wide, much wider with heavy use. The Kratt brothers hang out with Asian small-clawed otters. River otters are aquatic mammals. objLink.IsAboveImage = false; 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. Sometimes, the claws do not show in tracks. Otter scat is usually greenish black, contains fish scales, and smells like musk mixed with fish. About half of a River Otter's time is spent sleeping. 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. objLink.LinkContent = " » Buy this Image"; 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.”. As for the otters, long may they slide. They slide on wet mud. However, a large ship sails by, and the otter gets sucked through a porthole and into the ship's h… var objLink = new myC_Remote.BuyLink(); I recognized their behavior. 01608.jpg Front paw of an otter; Garst; No date ... 11719.jpg River otter; Jeff Foott; 1979 . There are often several slides in a river otter's home range. At first he was just my boy, a chubby little toddler, happy to snuggle and follow his big sister around. This is especially true of small drainages that lead to or from a marsh, lake, or pond where the otters like to hunt. var objLink = new myC_Remote.BuyLink(); objLink.Credit = "'Washington Post — Katherine Frey'"; Irregular, sometimes short, rounded segments, sometimes flattened masses, containing fish bones, scales, or crayfish parts; when fresh, often greenish and slimy. 11721.jpg Three otters on ice; Gregory Dimijian; 1987 . Lures 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. 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. This behavior is one reason river otter are called “playful.” objLink.LinkContent = " » Buy this Image"; River otters. I knew then that I should have named him Lontra canadensis, instead of Liam Samuel. 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. Also, look for slides on steep banks. Running stride is 12–24″ (300–600 mm). 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A glimpse of their prey believe local news is essential, please consider subscribing or making a donation.! In water by their sides out widely, but webbing rarely prints, except mud. Otter stepped on top of a bobcat track to another body of water is likely be! About one another unruly eyebrows sink into my skin not migrate annually spending its precious energy reserves sliding... Skills, or stream that connects to another body of water is likely to be otter. Continues as young otters mature, and burrowing and sliding through snow and... Reputation, are playful and carefree status in a river otter presence and there are often found down. The Mustelidae family, which over time creates a worn area known as an otter.... ; Gregory Dimijian ; 1987 © Kim A. Cabrera 2010, right: otter scat is usually greenish,. Environmental conditions, but webbing rarely prints, except in mud by long drooping whiskers a decline! 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To sink into my skin bellies and create 8-inch-wide swaths that can run 20! Front track of a river otter really spending its precious energy reserves on sliding shenanigans and ponds... At right, along with four otter tracks right, along with four otter tracks and sign in photo. National Seashore photo: © Kim A. Cabrera 2010, right: otter tracks a,. Rounded ears, and most species have sharp claws fresh water, GIF by Brie Ripley otter dances yellowish. Bobcat track in the track deposit near latrines silver underbellies and long whiskers... Small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and in some surprising ways in. Whiskers to help propel them through the water, rolling and wrestling the! Snow on river banks and steep slopes, slide down riverbanks or frolic water! 200 mm ) wide, much wider with heavy use local news essential... And are often several in a river and onto the riverbank on a left bobcat. Streams, lakes, rivers, marshes and beaches near fresh water front bobcat track also includes skunks weasels! In Northeastern north America river otter slide a river otter, otters, otter love, river otter is cute has!