Friday, July 24, 2015

River Otter

I almost forgot to tell you that I saw a family of River Otters last March at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida panhandle. I happened to look up from chasing dragonflies when this adult led  four young down the shoreline. As I wrote last October, River Otters are found across North America, but populations have suffered from environmental destruction, pollution, and hunting.

Otters breed in burrows and generally give birth to up to six young. Otters are adept swimmers—they can remain submerged for up to four minutes and swim nearly seven mph. They prefer fish, but will take many small, aquatic animals.  The adult in this photograph is probably a female, since males usually establish their own groups, with often over a dozen individuals, while females stay with their own offspring. Other unrelated individuals—unrelated adults or other young otters—may join a female and help raise her offspring (Wikipedia).

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