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Friendly Fun Otters

Friendly Fun Otters
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-11-30
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 5d Mark II, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-02-01 5:36
Viewed: 2694
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We found these three Northern River Otters on the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park. The left fellow is scratching, although it looks as if he's waving.

Northern River Otter
Lontra canadensis

General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

One of many species of otters, the Northern River Otter, formerly in the genus Lutra, has been reclassified as belonging in the genus Lontra. This, the longest member of the Weasel Family in North America, occupies most of the continent north of Mexico -- from Florida to Alaska. It is absent only from the desert region from southern Texas to California -- and the Canadian tundra.

The most amphibious of the inland weasels, being fully equipped with webbed feet, it is equally at home swimming in the water or loping along the shores of deep, clear lakes, rivers, marshes or ocean bays.

From its bulbous nose to the long, slender body and long tapered tail, it is very streamlined, ideal for travel in an aquatic medium. Its underwater performance is exquisite, swimming with a swift undulating motion, both on and under the surface.

Its stout, muscular neck is hardly narrower than its broad flattened head. The eyes are small as are its ears which can be closed when underwater. Its highly-valued fur is thick and lustrous, the guard hairs being a shiny dark brown; the underfur is very dense, keeping the body dry and insulated. The long facial whiskers (vibrissae) and throat are a silvery grey.

Large males weigh up to 14 kg (30 lb) and are 1.4 m (4.5 ft) long. Average males are: length, 1,126 mm (4 ft); tail, 424 mm (17 in); weight, 7.75 kg (16 lb). Females are slightly smaller.

Otters are intelligent, and are very sociable creatures, unlike most of the other Weasel Family members. They love to play. In winter they enjoy repeatedly "tobogganing" down a snow bank, fore legs extended, rear ones trailing; in summer they slide down a slippery mud bank. On flat, snow-covered surfaces, they typically move by a series of three jumps and a long glide, which may carry them 2 to 3 m (6.6-10 ft) and when travelling in this way on frozen lakes they have been clocked at speeds of 29 km/h (18 mi/h).

Although wary of humans, they readily tame when unmolested. They tend to be nocturnal in the presence of man, but are quite diurnal, at least early in the mornings and late afternoons, in remote areas.

Most of their food is obtained by underwater capture. In freshwater, this consists mostly of fishes; up to 93% in one study. The species list included sunfish, catfish, minnows, trout, sculpin and perch. A high number of invertebrates are also consumed, amongst those identified were dragonfly and stonefly nymphs, bugs, water beetles and crayfish. Frogs, tadpoles and newts are also part of their diet, as are shrews, muskrats, meadow voles and young beavers. In coastal areas, crabs and other marine invertebrates are the main dietary items.

They do not excavate their own burrow. Rather, they construct their den in hollow logs or stumps which they line with dry wood chips, bark and leaves. They will also take possession of old beaver lodges or bank burrows made by beavers or muskrats.

Mating may takes place from immediately after the birth of the new young, which occurs from late winter to early spring, until six weeks later. Because of delayed implantation, the gestation period is from 9.5 to 12.5 months. The one to four babies are born fully furred but blind, their eyes not opening for 35 days. The males are quite pugnacious at this time and are driven away by the mother -- although he may rejoin the family after the young are six months old. He may travel far overland, seeking other mating opportunities and is then most subject to predation by wolves or coyotes. In the meantime, the young begin to play at five to six weeks of age and venture out of their den at ten to twelve weeks when their mother begins to teach them to swim and hunt. Otters typically are sexually mature at two years. However, most young males are not successful breeders until they are six or seven year old. Otters in captivity have been known to live for sixteen years.
from Weaselhead.org

maurydv, pirate, pegos, uleko, Alex99, eqshannon, CeltickRanger, waylim has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Rick,
a fantastic capture of these Otters, very good sharpness and beautiful natural colours, excellent point of view and very nice composition
Best regards

Hi Rick
great pose and how lucky you were to find 3 of them, they are extremely shy here in Europe

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-02-01 6:32]

Hello Rick,
Nice to see you back on TN!
A fantastic capture of three otters on the edge of the ice. The composition is perfect for the POV taken with excellent sharpness and exposure and from a fine angle.
Thanks for sharing a sight that would be very rare in Europe.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-02-01 6:35]

Hello Rick,
Very nice photo of these Otters in great sharpness and beautiful natural colours. Very good POV and composition.

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-02-01 6:35]

Splendid image, Rick!
Excellent sharpness and beautiful lightness; great POV and nice natural colours. Very well done!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2012-02-01 8:21]

Hello Rick,
I'm glad you're back and with a great capture of these beautiful Otters. I like your framing, the natural colours and details are very sharp.
TFS and bests wishes, Ulla

Beautiful scene Rick! Very good composition, wonderful lighting and good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2012-02-01 9:12]

Hi Rick.
What a cute trio. You have pictured it at a very attractive moment. Despite the weather and light condition shot is very impressive and natural. My warm regards and TFS.

You are quite the tripper to Yellowstone. I envy all of your fun there but not the wrist problems. Of course you shot pictures though pain and they didn't suffer one bit. You are indeed my guru!

Hello Rick

Beautiful close-up photo of these Otters,
with fine POV and framing, excellent focus
sharpness and details, TFS


Hello Rick,
A great capture taken from a good POV with excellent sharpness and fine details. I also like the natural colours and composition. Well done!

Looks like the same hooligans I shot there last year ;)

Great shot, bet you are mighty pleased with this result

Hi again,

High five! to the one on the left. What a cute shot of the family picture perfect moment and you are there to captured it. Love it.


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