Wet and Wild Otters Haiku: LAPC

Wet and wild otters
Grateful for their liquid world
Tread into its depths

Otter in shallow water, Bend, Oregon 2016

Gliding silently
Steering with slender rudders
In a search for bliss

Otter swimming in shallow water, Bend, Oregon 2016

Meeting and greeting
Leaping and pirouetting
Dancers of the deeps

Wet and wild otters in Bend, Oregon 2016
Wet and wild otters in Bend, Oregon 2016

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – ALL WET

Rainy view of otters: Pull up a seat challenge

Log bench shaded by tree at High Desert Museum, Bend Oregon October 2019

I had a rainy view of otters from this log bench shaded by a red-leaved tree. The otters at the High Desert Museum seem to have fun no matter what the weather is.

Rainy view of otters at High Desert Museum, Bend Oregon October 2019

Pull up a seat challenge

Cooling Otters: Lens-Artists Photo Challenge

Three guys cooling their jets

When it’s as hot as it’s been (102 degrees here yesterday!) I wish I could do a little cooling off by being an otter. Here are three cooling otters in motion.

Three Otters Cooling at the High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 19March2018

They always look like they’re having so much fun.

Can you imagine sliding down an embankment and cooling off in a clear mountain stream?

Otters Cooling 2 27September2016I’m also including a short video of three North American river otters at play at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. You can hear fellow volunteer Jonny Goddard, AKA Otter Brother, in the background “directing” them.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Cooling

Shadow Otter

Shadow Otter 31Aug2015A strange and almost surreal photo that has rays of light, wave shadows, and reflections of floating leaves. Can you find the shadow otter swimming in the background?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

Otter Joy: Weekly Photo Challenge

Otter joy. North American River Otter 24Sept2016
North American river otter, Lontra canadensis

River otters are very well adapted to their water environment. When you watch them you can’t help but smile and think they look like they are living a joyful life. Here is one showing its otter joy by giving a big smile for the camera.

To learn more about otters, visit my post You Otter Know.

Weekly Photo Challenge – H20

The North American river otter: You otter know

North American River Otter
North American River Otter

The High Desert Museum introduced a new North American river otter, Lontra canadensis,  into the otter display last summer. Rogue, the Museum’s 4-year old otter, was anxious to meet the new addition. After a short period of adjustment, they became the best of friends. Here’s a bit more about river otters:

Range of the North American river otter:

The North American River Otter ranges throughout most of North America including parts of Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic states, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Two otters

Identification & unique characteristics:

Otters have long streamlined bodies and webbed feet. Males weigh an average of 25 pounds and females weigh 18 pounds. They range in length from 26-42 inches and one-third of that length consists of the tail. Otters have a flat head with small, rounded ears and long whiskers that act as feelers. Their fur is dark brown above shading to a silvery grey on their undersides and throat. The thick coat of river otters repels water and has about 160,000 hairs per square inch. They spend most of their time in the water and can hold their breath for as long as eight minutes. Otters can swim at speeds up to seven miles per hour and dive 60 feet below the surface. They have an acute sense of smell and hearing but are near-sighted.

North American river otter Underwater view

Behavior & life history:

This intelligent and curious animal is active year round but may be more active at night during the spring, summer, and fall and more active during the day in the winter. Known for their sense of play, they have been observed sliding down riverbanks and snowy hills, rolling over and somersaulting in the water, wrestling, and chasing one another. They are more social than other closely related mammals and can be seen living together in family groups. Otters communicate with each other with scent-marking and through a variety of vocalizations such as barks, growls, chuckles, whistles, and chirps.

Close up of otter

They hunt mainly at night and feed on a wide variety of prey including mammals, waterfowl, turtles, salamanders, frogs, slow-moving fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects. River otters live an average of 8 – 9 years in the wild and 18 – 21 years in captivity. They are mature at two years of age. Females raise litters of 1 – 6  young in dens.

Habitat needs:  

Otters live near waterways, lakes, marshes, and coastal areas. They have adapted to living in a wide range of elevations and habitats. Their home range may be 15 square miles or more.

Underwater view of otter

Status & conservation:

By the early 1900’s, populations had decreased in large parts of their range due to unregulated trapping and development by settlers. More recently, their numbers were reduced due to habitat loss and pollution. Management efforts began in the 1970’s. They have been successfully reintroduced into 21 states where they once lived including parts of the Midwest. Populations are currently stable in much of their range.

Underwater view of otter

Interesting facts about the North American river otter:

The nostrils and ear holes close when the animal submerges underwater. The right lung is larger than the left and this may help them adapt to living in the water.