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why do otters play

why do otters play

This can lead to a very slow and painful death. 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. River otters, of course! At first I thought it was because they were simulating cracking oysters or something, but it turns out they just like playing with rocks! 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. They spend a significant portion of the day scent marking territory by urinating, defecating, scratching and rubbing their scent glands on rocks and trees. 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. This is one of the reasons why researchers feel it has been able to adapt to changes in the environment so well. Their antics appear on memes, go viral, and can definitely make you smile, but looks can be deceiving. Facts; Information; 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. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. Humans, unfortunately, have hunted them to near extinction in some parts. Others believe otters only use these slides for low-energy travel, maintaining that otters generally do not climb to the top of a slope for another slide. Play. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. Categories. The only places you won't find river otters are the dry desert areas of the southwestern U.S. This is an otter at Chester Zoo playing with some rocks. For some species, otters of all age classes have been observed sliding. When sea otter populations are healthy, urchin populations are kept in check, and kelp is abundant. Some researchers believe that sliding is a form of play in river otters. 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. 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. 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. The anatomy of the Otter allows it to do very well both on land and in the water. They’re also considered a keystone species because of their critical importance to the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem. Some of them will even get parasites into their bodies from the prey that they consume. 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). 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. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp. There is evidence that river otters' play activities strengthen social bonds, improve hunting techniques and scent mark territories. Giant otters can be attacked by other animals, but do not have any direct natural predators. 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