River Otter

Topics: Mustelidae, North America, Fur Pages: 3 (817 words) Published: April 15, 2011
The North American river otter (lontra Canadensis), also known as they river otter, are small semi-aquatic mammals commonly found in the North American continent along the waterways and coasts. River otters have existed for a very long time. Archeologists have discovered fossils that date back as old as 200 B.C. Otters body form have remained unchanged for 30 million years. They have gone under slow subtle evolutionary changes over that time period, but have retained the same body shape.

The North American River otter is the largest member of the mustelidae family. Their body is long and slender and they have a long tail that tapers behind them to a point (angel fire). The river otter has fully webbed feet that are very strong, and five toes ending in sharp claws ( brown).Their neck is long and their legs are short. Otters head is flat and has whiskers on its face, with small ears and no hair on the diamond-shaped nose. River otters show sexual dimorphism, where full grown the male is 5 % slightly larger then the females (adw). Fully grown they are generally 3’ to over 4’ ft long and weigh 11 to 23 pounds. They stand at 10 inches from the shoulder. They also have a tail is usually 12-18 inches long. (angel fire).

The river otter has webbed feet to help them swim faster in the water and run faster on land since they are semi-aquatic mammals (ludist). North American river otters have a thick, velvety fur that consist of two layers that is usually black, reddish, or grey-brown on the back and light or grey-brown on the belly. The throat and cheeks are yellow-grey color. (angel fire). They also have coarse, dense, dark hairs on their back called, guard hairs, that make their fur water resistant. The guard hairs are thick and about 17 to 20 mm long, and the under fur is 8 to 9 mm long. North American river otters are well suited for life in the water, with a nose and ears that can close while swimming under water. The eyes have a third clear eyelid that...
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