The North American River Otter
The Deep Stuff
A Quick Overview
A Little Video on Our Little Friends
The Fossil Record of a River Otter
Around 5-23 million years ago, scientists found through molecular biological techniques that the river otter and giant otter separated into their own species. This occured in the miocene period, around 5-23 million years ago (1), which was, however, earlier than what the fossil records indicated (3). The fossil records showed that this divergance had occured in the late pliocene period, which was 3.6-1.8 million years ago (1).
A River Otter's Morphology
DNA Analysis of a River Otter
Embryology and Reproduction of a River Otter
Geographic Distribution of Otters
What Have We Done?
As time has passed, we have found ourselve closing in on our otter populations. No need to press much worry, for the north american river otter isn't an endangered species as a whole, but it would help if we dialed it down on the trapping for pelts. Around 20,000- 30,000 otters are killed for their fur each year (5). We have also been causing river pollution with factory fumes and dumping our trash in the streams as well as poor waste management in the cities. Another cause is our continuous movement and building in habitats of otters. Otters are extremely shy, and as we move, we continuously push them into smaller and smaller habitats (5). We can do many things to help stop the decrease in the north american otter's population, such as not dumping trash in our streams and tributaries as well as banning fur trapping in certain places.