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The River Otter

The River Otter Reading Lesson & Worksheet - My Schoolhouse - Online Learning
 
The River Otter of Wisconsin is the largest member of the weasel family.  The River Otter is found mostly in the northern half of the state near rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.

The River Otter is a sleek dark brown creature that has a muscular body with a long tapering tail.  The River Otter will grow to 3-4 feet in length and weigh from 15 to 25 pounds.  Its tail is 12 to 18 inches long and is used to propel the otter through the water.  The River Otter has webbed feet that are also used for swimming.  The fur of the River Otter is very thick and durable and is sought by trappers.

The River Otter is an excellent swimmer and can swim 5 or more miles per hour.  It is capable of staying underwater from two to four minutes at a time.  The River Otter has specially built ears and nose that have a valve-like skin that closes and keep a water tight seal underwater.

River Otters live in a den usually borrowed from beavers, muskrats, and woodchucks.  They will temporarily live under the roots of large trees and brush piles.  The den has an opening above the ground in the summer but this is usually closed in the winter and the only entrance is under water.  The den floor is usually bare with some accumulation of grass and leaves.  The beaver is very important to the River Otter because the beaver pond makes ideal habitat for the otter.

The River Otter eats fish such as suckers, minnows, pan fish, bass, and other species.  They will also eat crayfish, frogs, and other small water animals.  The River Otter will forage under overhanging river banks and along the shorelines where they will eat insects, vegetation, and some small birds.  The River Otter will stay near their favorite eating areas and mark their territory by using scent from their feces, urine, and musk glands.

The River Otter breeds in April and will have their young about a year later in April or May.  The young are called "kits" and are helpless at birth.  The otter will have between 2 and 4 kits.  The kit is about 4 to 5 inches in length, furry, and has its eyes closed for about a month.  After about 6 to 8 weeks of feeding from the motherís milk, the kits are weaned and taught to swim and hunt for food.  After a year with the family, each otter will leave to establish his or her own territory.

Otters are known to be very playful.  They love to wrestle and chase each other around.  All of these games help the otter to become coordinated and fit into the social structure of the group.  The River Otter will also capture and release live prey so each young otter may learn to hunt.  All these activities help the River Otter to live a life of more than 15 years.

Answer the questions below.

1. The River Otter will grow to a length of about

5 to 6 feet.

3 to 4 feet.

1 to 2 feet

None of the above

2. The River Otter can stay underwater for

8 to 10 minutes

10 to 12 minutes

2 to 4 minutes

None of the above

3. The River Otter's babies are called

calves.

puppies

kits

chicks

4. The River Otter will eat

small birds

crayfish

vegetation

All of the above.

5. The River Otter weighs from

2 to 4 pounds

6 to 8 pounds

10 to 14 pounds

15 to 25 pounds

6. The kit is born with its closed.

7. The River Otter's den has an opening above the ground in the but this is usually closed in the .

8. The River Otter's den is usually borrowed from

beavers

muskrats

woodchucks

All of the above.

9. Otters are very playful so they may become and fit into the social structure of the group.

10. The River Otter will stay near their favorite eating areas and mark their territory by using scent from their feces, urine, and glands.

11. The River Otter of Wisconsin is the largest member of the

cat family.

canine family.

wallaby family

None of the above.

12. After a year with the family, each otter will leave and establish his or her own .

13. The River Otter has specially built ears and a nose that have a skin that closes and keep a water tight seal underwater.

14. The River Otter uses

only its tail to swim.

only its webbed feet to swim.

its tail and webbed feet to swim.

None of the above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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