River otters are amphibious animals that are related to the weasel family; sea otters are their cousins, along with mink and wolverines. When it comes to picking a good place to socialize, the bathroom probably isn’t high on your list. Sea otter numbers have declined in southwestern Alaska over the past 20 years. Otters are an essential keystone species. Based on Coastal Latrine Site Surveys. It is estimated that there were between 100,000 and 150,000 sea otters in and around Alaska waters at the time of the Russian arrival in 1741. A sea otter floats in the water outside Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. River otters on the coast of Alaska lead unusual lives. River Otters live mostly in the Northern part of Alaska, but many thrive in the Southern parks established for their protection. EXPERIENCE THE YUKON. Freeze up at Yukon River Lodge 2020. ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska man rescued his family’s dog from an attack by river otters in a small lake at an Anchorage park, he said. 9. Our wildlife cameras on Martha’s Vineyard have documented groups of 2 – 8 otters. In coastal Alaska, social river otters (Lontra Canadensis), largely males, cooperatively forage on schooling fish and use latrine sites to communicate group associations and dominance. Typical habitats include lakes, rivers, marshes, and coastal shorelines. 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. Kenny Brewer waded waist-deep into … They have scent glands at the base of their tail, and they deposit their musky scent on their dung, which is called spraint. The sightless and nearly helpless young are usually born in the months of March and May. River otters use openings in the ice, and will sometimes even break through beaver dams, to gain access to rivers and other waters. For the males, much of their social life centers on a shared bathroom area. I have also saved all the skulls. The dog’s owner waded waist-deep into Taku Lake and was bitten on his hand while pulling the husky-mix away from the river otters, Alaska Public Media reported. Coastal river otters in Alaska either form family groups or large groups of males, presumably in an effort to more efficiently capture pelagic fish (Blundell et al. Sea otters currently have stable populations in parts of the Russian east coast, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and California, with reports of recolonizations in Mexico and Japan. Photo by Jim Pfeiffenberger, National Park Service. I can skin them however desired. Effects of climate change on animal behavior and cascading ecosystem responses are rarely evaluated. ... Yukon River Lodge, 15 miles upriver of Ruby, Alaska. A group of river otters attacked and nearly drowned a dog at Taku Lake last Wednesday around 6 p.m. Kenny Brewer says he had his dog Ruby – a 50-pound Husky mix – on a leash when he noticed the otters swimming along the north side of the lake. The otters deposit their … The otters were hunted to near-extinction, but a treaty signed in 1911 marked the end of their decline. Once containing more than half of the world’s sea otters, this population segment, which ranges from Kodiak Island through the western Aleutian Islands, has undergone an overall population decline of at least 55–67 percent since the mid-1980s. I have tubed them all out thus far. PMID: 17347401 [Indexed for MEDLINE] These otters depend on rivers for sustenance, and one-third of their winter diet is comprised of crayfish. Wild Alaska: River Otter Edition While Alaska's sea otters are far better known, and arguably cuter, our rivers have otters, too! They can also slide across the ice to get where they need to go. Latrines offer river otters a stinky “phone a friend” with their neighbors. LIFE SPAN: Up to 10 in the wild, mid-20’s under human managed care. A river otter has a strong neck and a jaw that is capable of cracking shells of crustaceans plus teeth for ripping meat. Scent Communication. Population estimates made between 2004 and 2007 give a worldwide total of approximately 107,000 sea otters. Final Report . Chasing is also a common game. July 30, 2009 . Alaska has both river otters and sea otters. For coastal river otters in southcentral Alaska, however, the bathroom is a major social hub.. These Otters are large in size ranging from 40"-50" in length from nose to tip of tail. It’s nice to have the neighbors visit. Conversely, solitary otters, mainly females, feed on intertidal-demersal fish and display mutual … We also sell stock photography through AccentAlaska.com. Hi, I have several male River Otters caught this year in the Prince William Sound of Alaska. winter travel Yukon River. River otters, however, can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes. Brown Trout Pair of Brown Trout An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). River otters are renowned for their sense of play. Otters persisted in areas like Louisiana and Alaska, while in Nebraska they were completely gone from the rivers they inhabited just years before. Please let me know if anyone is interested. Male otters can be part of large groups (9 – 30) that hunt cooperatively, particularly in marine habitats. Although northern sea otters are found along the coast of Alaska, Canada, and Washington and in the Aleutian Islands, only the southwest stock in Alaska has been decreasing (Figure 1, panel A). River otters rely upon play to learn survival skills such as fighting and hunting. And some of these otters are living in the Anchorage city limits! Coastal river otters in Alaska have smaller home ranges than otters in inland waterways because coastal areas provide an abundance of food. Identifying exposure to T. gondii and L. interrogans in otters from Washington State but not in otters from Alaska suggests that living proximal to higher human density and its associated agricultural activities, domestic animals, and rodent populations could enhance river otter exposure to these pathogens. Photographer Eleanor Batchelder spotted this otter in the Ship Creek area. River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in Southcentral Alaska: Distribution, Relative Abundance, and Minimum Population Size . Alaska Otters can weigh up to 100 pounds and be up to 5 feet in length. River otters are one of our favorite ani. Keep checking back for an ever expanding selection of image galleries. The Best Bear Viewing. 2004). There are many places to see bears in Alaska, but if your goal is to make sure you see a bear -- and potentially lots of bears -- these are the best places (but note that, in most cases, you have to time your trip to salmon runs, when bears are present):. River otters use their scent to mark their territorial boundaries. The increased time underwater improves otters’ opportunity to sense prey and forage for food. RANGE: River otters are found throughout Alaska except in the Aleutian Islands, off-shore islands of the Bering Sea and areas adjacent to the Arctic coast east of Point Lay. Northern River Otters (Lontra canadensis) returning to the ice shelf with a silver salmon, Seward. As little as 50% of the southwest stock remains since the 1980s, and the Aleutian Archipelago population decreased from ≈74,000 to 8,742 by 2000. River otters live alone or in pairs. River Otters Reproduction | River Otter Facts. North american river otter. Population. Alaska Photo Source (dba Donna Dewhurst Photography) specializes in Alaskan wildlife, landscapes, places to visit and outdoor activities. Sea otters are not related to seals or sea lions, but are rather a member of the mink family. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Researchers are now working to understand how otters use these latrine sites to communicate and build social groups. Otter play mostly consists of wrestling with conspecifics. 2002), although some individuals of both sexes remained solitary (Blundell et al. Sea otter populations in Alaska are now quite healthy. Sea otters are the ones that like to float on their backs, and river otters don't really do that. North American river otters live near permanent watersheds throughout North America, from Alaska and northern Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico. River otters are polygynous. The gestation period lasts for 61 – 63 days. Historically, sea otters were nearly hunted to extinction, first by the Russians who forced the Aleut and Alutiiq people to hunt and later by the Americans after the Alaska purchase.