The anatomy of the Otter allows it to do very well both on land and in the water. Categories. This can lead to a very slow and painful death. Sea otters are a keystone species and play a critical role in the food web of the kelp forest, so much so that even terrestrial species are influenced by sea otter activity. Sea otters are an iconic species, representing the beauty and diversity of marine life found along California’s coastline. Their antics appear on memes, go viral, and can definitely make you smile, but looks can be deceiving. Giant otters can be attacked by other animals, but do not have any direct natural predators. The only river otter that can be found north of Mexico, the North American river otter thrives in rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and along the coasts of every state and territory of both the United States and Canada. Play by this definition is seen in otters such as the Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated otters, who are both known to “juggle” with rocks. When sea otter populations are healthy, urchin populations are kept in check, and kelp is abundant. River otters, of course! Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae.The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates.Lutrinae is a branch of the Mustelidae family, which also includes weasels, badgers, mink, and wolverines, among other animals. Some of them will even get parasites into their bodies from the prey that they consume. Their playful snow and mud sliding, tail chasing, water play, and snow burrowing activities also serve other purposes—they help strengthen social bonds and let young otters practice hunting techniques. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. Facts; Information; For some species, otters of all age classes have been observed sliding. There is evidence that river otters' play activities strengthen social bonds, improve hunting techniques and scent mark territories. A river otter can grow three to four feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) long including its tail and weigh between 11 and 30 pounds (5 to 14 kilograms). Asian small-clawed otter ( Aonyx cinera ): so-called due to their partially webbed paws which give them amazing dexterity, more than any other otter species. They spend a significant portion of the day scent marking territory by urinating, defecating, scratching and rubbing their scent glands on rocks and trees. This is an otter at Chester Zoo playing with some rocks. At first I thought it was because they were simulating cracking oysters or something, but it turns out they just like playing with rocks! Humans, unfortunately, have hunted them to near extinction in some parts. The fact that Otters do need to consume so much food each day though is a prime reason why they do have health problems with their stomachs and their vital organs. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp. And river otters love to play on slippery rocks or ideally, snow banks, which they will body-surf down the length of, running back up to the top to do it all again. They’re also considered a keystone species because of their critical importance to the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem. Some researchers believe that sliding is a form of play in river otters. This is one of the reasons why researchers feel it has been able to adapt to changes in the environment so well. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. 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