|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)|
While taking photos at a small pond near where I live on Galveston Island, I was as surprised to find a River Otter as it was to find me. I sat on the heavily vegetated bank watching as it would surface, raise it's head high and check out the surroundings. Submerging, it would resurface 20 or so feet away and again survey me and the immediate area. It continued this behavior for about 15 minutes, in the water about 150 feet away, directly in front of me. I'm not sure weather it was just curious or if I was near it's den. Maybe it had pups, I don't know. Males are about 25% larger than females but this was my first encounter with one so I'm unsure of the sex. Adults weigh 15-35 pounds(6.8-15 kg) and are 40-60 inches(102-152 cm) in length. Pups are usually born in late winter or spring the following year after mating, a gestation period of 9 to 13 months. Delayed implantation, a period of delayed embryonic growth, accounts for the variations in the gestation period. The pups are born blind, their eyes opening about 7 weeks after birth. When about 2 months old they start to leave the burrow and learn to swim and eat solid food but are not weaned until they are about 5 months old. They stay with the mother until just before she gives birth to the next litter. River Otters reach sexual maturity at about 2 years and may live and breed for more than 20. They can swim over 6 miles per hour(9.7 km/hr), run at speeds over 15 miles per hour(24 km/hr), dive to a depth of at least 60 feet(18 m) and stay submerged for up to 4 minutes. River Otters have excellent hearing and sense of smell but their eye sight is poor above water. Only their rear feet are webbed. Although still trapped for their fur (each pelt bringing more than $100.00) in North America they have become quite rare in the South. Between 1,200 to 2,400 River Otters have been killed in Alaska annually during the past 10 years for their fur. Protected now in some states, I'm not sure of their status in Texas. Fun loving mammals, they love to frolic and play. The River Otter's diet consits of fish, crawfish, clams and mussels, insects, birds, vegetation, turtles...Well, just about anything organic. They are amphibious members of the family Mustelidae along with Minks and Sea Otters. They produce a strong disagreeable scent from a pair of anal glands.
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I think these waterguys behave playfully and uninhibitedly....:)
- [2007-05-06 6:32]
Hi Jim, Good clear shot of this otter in the wild. They move very quickly so you did well to have not blurr ar all. Good work and interesting note. TFS. Murray.
- [2007-05-06 11:21]
Wonderful capture of the otter. Great timing to get him just at the right moment. Good colors and details and I love the three dimensional appearance of the water.
OK, now we know the secret of the Loch Ness Monster!
Interesting subject. I didn't even know we had otters in Texas...never really thought about it.
Great note too! (You write well!)
You gotta love ottas, these guys are amzing I love their personalities, and you captured this funny character spy-hopping. Fantastic fun shot. :)
- [2007-05-07 21:36]
Fantastic stroke of good observation , Jim . One of the most rare animals in North America , and you have one living nearby . I hope Texas , and other states protect these rare creatures . Hope you see more of them , TFS , Kevin .