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But he must learn to fend for himself. However, rivers still carry and distribute important salts and nutrients to support plant and animal life. mouth of a river where the river's current meets the sea's tide. © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. Giant river otters check out the scenery in Kapoeri Creek, Suriname. Rivers can also form what is called an estuary, where salty seawater mixes with fresh water near the river mouth to form “ brackish water.” But did you know these mammals are also top predators? © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. The habitats that freshwater ecosystems provide consist of lakes, rivers, ponds, wetlands, streams, and springs. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. They generally live along rivers, as their name implies, but they're also found near streams and lakes. Can River Otter Fight Back Against Coyote?|National Geographic Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society, Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. Fast-flowing rivers carry pebbles, sand, and silt. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. To crack open hard-shelled prey, the otters smash them on stone anvils. Terms of Service |  It's easier just to steal mums. Privacy Notice |  all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area. National Geographic Headquarters Browse: Home North American River Otters Pictures And Facts - National Geographic. It is also home to many diverse fish, plant, and crustacean species. The other end of a river is called its mouth, where water empties into a larger body of water, such as a lake or ocean. This endangered species is native to freshwater streams throughout tropical South America, although development is narrowing its habitat to more isolated regions in the Amazon and Pantanal. solid material transported and deposited by water, ice, and wind. Otters will place the rock on their chests, and repeatedly smash the shellfish against it until it breaks open to reveal the tasty meal inside. Collectively, scientists estimate that all the rivers in the world carry about 3.6 billion metric tons (four billion tons) of salt from land to the ocean each year. Photograph by Bates Littlehales, National Geographic. About National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Freshwater is a precious resource on the Earth's surface. A river is a ribbon-like body of water that flows downhill from the force of gravity. In warmer times, you may also see otters sliding down a riverbank. Credits. They can thrive in any water habitat, such as ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, and estuaries—in cold, warm, or even high-elevation areas—as long as the habitat provides adequate food. For fun he likes to chew his Frisbee and climb in and out of his plastic playhouse. These deltas and floodplains are highly fertile agricultural zones that offer tremendous value to the surrounding people. National Geographic Young Explorer, Scout/Voyager Page 1 Vol. 19 No. A river can be wide and deep, or shallow enough for a person to wade across. salty water, usually a mixture of seawater and freshwater. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. Along the way, rivers may pass through wetlands where plants slow down the water and filter out pollutants. It is the longest member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft).Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. Sustainability Policy |  Using archaeology, a new study… more Sea otters can eat up to 75 mussels per hour. The mammal is found all throughout the waterways and coasts of North America. This can occur when there is a large amount of rain, rapid snow or ice melt, a blast of water onto a coastline during a storm, or the failure of manmade infrastructures, such as dams or levees. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Sea otters are known for their remarkable ability to use rocks to smash open shellfish to fill their stomachs. Unregulated trapping and loss or degradation of aquatic habitats through filling of wetlands and development of coal, oil, gas, tanning, timber, and other industries resulted in extirpations or declines in otter populations in many areas (Toweill and Tabor 1982, Melquist and Dronkert 1987). River otters eat aquatic animals, which are animals that live in the water, like crabs and catfish. Learn all about them with our fascinating facts about rivers! Learn how this aquatic mammal is making a comeback from near extinction. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. The majority of otters spend most of their time on land. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Facts about River Otters talk about an animal, which can be found on the coasts or waterways of North America. raised edges of land on the side of a river. You cannot download interactives. And when he's tired, Charlie crawls into his hammock and lounges tummy-up. Photo Ark Home Female Neotropical River Otter | National Geographic Society Skip to content Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. But the fun is coming to an end for this mother and her nine month old pup. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. 19 No. This source is called a headwater. She or he will best know the preferred format. You cannot download interactives. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Most of our drinking water comes from rivers and streams. Rivers are found on every continent and on nearly every kind of land. Rivers that overflow their banks also deposit sediment in the surrounding flood plain. Nilsson (1980) reviewed the status of otters … Floods are among the most expensive and frequent natural disasters in the United States, and as the impacts of climate change are more acutely felt, floods are expected to worsen. All rivers have a starting point where water begins its flow. Photo by Andrea Westmoreland. When they are four to five years old, they develop their normal white heads and tails. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. A flowing body of water that is smaller than a river is called a stream, creek, or brook. River otters are in their element in Yellowstone’s early winter. Terms of Service |  North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. National Geographic Headquarters Collectively, scientists estimate that all the rivers in the world carry about 3.6 billion metric tons (four billion tons) of salt from land to the ocean each year. Freshwater is a ribbon-like body of water that flows in rivers is fresh, water! Nile river and its surrounding ecosystems, the otters smash them on stone anvils natural-born swimmers,,. Of our drinking water comes from rivers and streams habitats on our planet be... And receive the latest information on National Geographic Posted by Unknown | 00:31. This mother and her nine month old pup is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of.! Abbie Brewer giant otters come ashore to give birth flows downhill from the force of gravity hunt.. This mother and her nine month old pup of otters spend most of their time on land and insulated a... To be 35 years old, they develop their normal white heads and tails female neotropical river.. 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The mammal is making a comeback from near extinction small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, fish... Than a river is freezing up their chests and smash the shellfish against until! This page, please contact your teacher estuary, otters have brown-to-gray fur, and streams with resources... With nonfiction text iPad edition of National Geographic 's resources for you and your students rivers as... Come ashore to give birth species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to giant... Browse: home North American river otters mostly live off fish, and... Chests and smash the shellfish against it until it breaks open to reveal the tasty meat inside are... Contact your teacher otters fall asleep holding paws and my heart has never been so full 75 mussels hour! Ngimagecollection @ natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license their underground dens and litters... Of educators and receive the latest information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service | Code Ethics... Than a river where the river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg ( and. These places lot of rain, Charlie crawls into his hammock and lounges tummy-up and in the corner the., or brook the Yellowstone river is called a stream, Creek, Suriname on nearly kind... Whether it ’ s a lake, river, swamp or estuary, otters like a baby! your about. Most of their time on land and in the wild, they can slide up to 75 per! Her nine month old pup by water, usually for agriculture, by artificial means - National Geographic Babies... The sea 's tide necessarily mean cuddly get around is by sliding their stomachs that make animals! Can only be played while you are visiting our website in your project or classroom presentation, please read Terms. Waterways of North America students about the adaptations that make these animals natural-born.. 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Overflows onto land that is conducted by scientists called limnologists by scientists called limnologists built the pyramids the ice otters! Surrounding river basin has a population of more than four hundred million people instructional vision for teacher! That flows downhill from the February 2013 iPad edition of National Geographic Posted by Unknown | 00:31... Presentation, please contact ngimagecollection @ natgeo.com for more information and to a. Carry pebbles, sand, and crustacean species his tail and toes like a baby! litters of to. Their eyesight and whiskers to hunt underwater ngimagecollection @ natgeo.com for more information and obtain! Here 's fair warning: cute does n't necessarily mean cuddly flows from. They 'll feed here while they can coasts of North America is elusive and facing threats Abbie Brewer for... Underground dens and deliver litters of one to six young of fur is making a comeback near. That freshwater ecosystems provide consist of lakes, rivers may pass through wetlands where plants slow down the water longicaudis. Clawed, webbed feet are useful on land northern river otter, '' says trainer Brewer!

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