Meet the river otter, the most adorable (in our humble opinion) member of the weasel family. Amphibious river otters are known for their playful personalities in water and on land. Their short legs, webbed feet and waterproof fur allow them to enjoy swimming and floating, but because they don’t have blubber, they have to come ashore to rest, find shelter and travel between bodies of water. River otters make their homes in burrows by the shore, which gives them easy access to the water and their favourite foods: frogs, salamanders, clams, mussels and fish. Sadly, they’re not very common in many areas of Canada anymore.
Sink or Swim
Baby river otters start their lives in a den. They’re born in early spring and there are usually between one and three pups born in a litter. River otter pups stay with mom for at least a year (or until she has another litter). What does a river otter mama spend her days doing? Teaching her babies to swim, of course! As surprising as it might be, river otter pups aren’t born knowing how to swim. Before the pup takes its first lessons (at about 10-12 weeks old), the mama otter brings her baby everywhere—usually riding along on her tummy. We weren’t kidding when we said they were adorable!
How We’re Helping
Earth Rangers is working with Wildlife Conservation Society to learn more about important areas of open water and cavities along Yukon’s river shorelines. A lot of development and recreation is threatening this area, and that could spell trouble for this amphibious mammal. Researchers hope to find out which routes river otters take to get between waterways, and use that information to determine how they can best protect and conserve the otters’ habitats and connecting wetland ecosystems. By adopting a river otter through the Earth Rangers App, you can help to support this important research.
Learn how you can adopt these species and many others by downloading the Earth Rangers App today!
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