River Otters are members of the Mustelids family and occupy both sea and freshwater habitats along the Pacific coast and throughout North America. Although they are one of the smallest marine mammals we see in our area, sea otters are one of the most charismatic and well known animals in the Pacific Northwest. Saved by Marcie Callewaert. Registered charitable number: 11914 9797 RR0001. Sea otter floating in kelp. Over the past few years however, we have had the exciting chance to view true sea otters near Victoria, as an increase in their population has brought them closer to home. River otters can be found throughout Canada and mid-southern US. Their diet consists of a wide variety of organisms, including crabs, clams, snails, and sea urchins. As a naturalist onboard our whale watching vessels, I often get a lot of questions about the otters we see in Victoria. Males weigh 22–45 kg (99 lbs) and are 1.2–1.5 m (5 ft) in length. All reviews kayak tour river otters baby seals person kayak kayaking experience great kayaking great guide saw seals oyster catchers local wildlife experienced kayakers double kayak sea life fisherman's wharf longer tour knowledgeable guide bald eagles highly recommend this tour visiting victoria highlight of our trip great trip inner harbor Sea otter fur is the densest … By protecting the kelp from being entirely consumed by sea urchins, kelp forests are able to flourish and remove carbon, which they use for photosynthesis. I've lived in Victoria for almost 2 glorious years and have yet to be graced by the marvelous sight of a single otter (I know river otters are more common here). Although tool use seems like a fairly standard behaviour for us humans, determining which tool will help the otter open its food requires forward planning, problem solving and learning skills, all linked to complex cognitive ability. 1119 Wharf Street Victoria, B.C. Otters are often seen along the British Columbia coast. Habitat. The North American River Otter (Lontra Canadensis) can be found in many places around Vancouver Island. 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. Their interesting anatomy and key role within their ecosystem also make them a popular mammal to study. Unlike their river otter cousins, sea otters spend almost their entire lives in the water, rarely coming onto dry land. Sealions are massive! And for at least 10,000 years, long before colonisation, British Columbia’s coastal First Nations harvested shellfish and managed otter … River Otter. Although we do have a healthy population of otters living around the rocky shores of Vancouver Island, most of these cute furry mammals are actually river otters adapted to living in salt water, rather than the true sea otters most people are familiar with. River otters are often confused with Sea Otters since they frequent salt as well as fresh water. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. In order to withstand the cold water in which they live, sea otters have the greatest density of fur of any mammal. This species is one of the most common mammals along the beaches and rocky shores, but it almost always is found near a source of fresh water. Consider taking a Kayak tour in Victoria Canada. Sea otters, (scientific name Enhydra lutris), have had a troubled past off the west coast of British Columbia. Show More They have strong webbed feet for swimming, a long strong tail and thick claws. They have “delayed implantation,” meaning that after the egg is fertilized it stays in the uterus of the mother for nine months until it attaches and begins to grow. They prefer to be near shore or inland waters, as they are more at home on land than they are in the water. From this unique perspective, your guides describe Victoria’s historic waterways that make up the downtown and the working harbour. Their greatest threats are habitat destruction, pollution in the water, and trapping for fur. - Check out Tripadvisor members' 36,164 candid photos and videos of Victoria Kayak The river otter has a few natural enemies: wolves, foxes, and raptors. Feeding Behavior. Canadian Coast Guard and First Nations continue to contain the active oil slick caused by the historic Bligh Island shipwreck leak off Northwest Vancouver Island. They use their sense of touch to find and catch food underwater. An adult sea otter can spend up to 15% of their day simply grooming themselves! River otters can grow to 1.4 metres long and weigh about 13.5 kilograms. Since the beginning of the summer season here in Victoria, we have had many sightings of one of our cute and mischievous neighbors in the harbour: River Otters! Today, however, the news on sea otters is much less grim. River otter in Victoria BC. 5-14 Kg (11-31 lbs. Ollie has been known to kill river otters and small seals to ‘have his way’ with! Although sea otter populations are continuing to increase around British Columbia, they are not out of the woods quite yet. The River Otter is three to four feet long with sharp claws, a slender body and it has a diamond shaped nose. By the early 1900’s, sea otters had become completely extinct in British Columbia, with only small populations remaining in Alaska and California. They usually have dark fur with a lighter belly. While feeding, sea otters drift on their backs and use their stomachs as a “table” which they can hold their food on while they crack open its shell. They eat fish, shellfish, birds and other small mammals. They have the longest lasting fur of the entire otter/weasel family, and have been hunted for fur in many areas across North America. Victoria Kayak, Victoria Picture: River otter! In the background stands the BC Legislative Building and the historic Fairmont Empress. Beacon Hill Park is a 75 ha (200 acre) park located along the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait in Victoria, British Columbia.The park is popular both with tourists and locals, and contains a number of amenities including woodland and shoreline trails, two playgrounds, a waterpark, playing fields, a petting zoo, tennis courts, many ponds, and landscaped gardens. These forests are essential ecosystems because they provide an important habitat, nursery, and food source for many marine organisms. I am sadly likely moving soon and it would be amazing to see one before I depart. ... Victoria, BC. In collaboration with Environment Canada and the BC Ministry Environment, UBC graduate student, Cait Nelson, investigated contaminant exposure in coastal river otter from Victoria, British Columbia, (Thesis available online by clicking here). They usually have dark fur with a lighter belly. Due to a ban in hunting, and reintroduction of a small population back into British Columbia, the sea otter populations off the west coast of Vancouver Island have been slowly increasing. Therefore, sea otters play a direct role in the survival and protection of many other animals within its ecosystem. Their common habitat is lakes, streams and coastal marshes. Using their whiskers they can sense the movement of their prey to aid in catching it. Nevertheless, we are thrilled to see that the sea otter population is increasing around Victoria, and hope this adorable new addition to our area is here to stay! Dark brown/black with a much lighter teddy bear like head and short tail and very thick fluffy fur. Fisherman's Wharf is located just a few blocks west of the Inner Harbour. Ollie the sea otter. Without predation by otters, sea urchin populations can grow so large they will devour the kelp forests. These young ladies are doing well, growing and continue to eat alot. This species is one of the most common mammals along the beaches and rocky shores, but … It is a little confusing, though, because the species most often seen in these waters is the River Otter (Lutra canadensis). Tours depart from both Fishermans Wharf in Victoria and from the Inner Harbour (foot of Broughton Street). Sea Otters River Otters; 22-32 KG (50-70) lbs. Unlike many marine mammals such as seals and sea lions, sea otters have no insulating fat layer on their body to keep them warm in the water, therefore their amazingly dense fur serves to insulate them and keep them from becoming hypothermic. Conservation strategies such as increased net regulations and reduced chemical run-off from land are good first steps that can be taken to help protect these marine mammals. SpringTide I – Fishing & Private Charters. Fisherman’s wharf , Victoria. L. candadensis is often found along the shore line of British Columbia including the Victoria area and the Gulf Islands. They have strong webbed feet for swimming, a long strong tail and thick claws. A family of sneaky otters forced the annual Colquitz River salmon count in the Cuthbert Holmes Park to end early. This year, during many of our whale watching excursions, we have had the amazing opportunity to view these adorable marine mammals close to Victoria. River otters give birth to two or three “kits” and the mom looks after them until they are 12 or 13 months old. Anthropogenic – or human caused – events such as oil spills, fishing net entanglement, and habitat degradation are a serious threat to sea otters, and can have major impacts on their population. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur. Sea otters are perfectly adapted to living in their cold water environment here off the west coast of British Columbia. Females are slightly smaller, weighing 14–33 kg (72 lbs) and measuring 1–1.4 m (4.6 ft) in length. Otters are carnivorous and feed on crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, and most commonly, fish. Amazingly, sea otters are one of the few mammals on Earth which utilize tools to help them feed; a skill which was once thought to be possessed only by humans. The pelage (covering, or coat, of a mammal, whether of wool, fur, or hair) is brown or reddish brown. River Otters are small aquatic mammals. You may see them in spots like Esquimalt Harbour and Lagoon, Telegraph Cove, Tofino and Ucluelet harbours, Jack Point in Nanaimo or anywhere there is a dock, estuary, or river. Otters are voracious shellfish eaters. As predators within their food web, sea otters help protect important kelp ecosystems by controlling the abundance of herbivorous invertebrates such as sea urchins. When not grooming, sea otters spend a huge part of their day foraging for food. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Sea otters are the largest member of the family Mustelidae (70 species of river otters, skunks, weasels, badgers, etc.) They are hunted by bald eagles, some bears and coyotes. Sea otters rarely venture on land since their movements here are awkward and clumsy. Not only are sea otters one of the most adorable mammals found in our ocean, they also play an essential role in their marine ecosystem. Answer 1 of 4: Well here we are in Vancouver Island on day 2 of our Canadian trip. River otters can grow to 1.4 metres long and weigh about 13.5 kilograms. Depending on the location on their body, sea otters can have as many as 170,000-1,000,000 hairs per square inch! You may also encounter eagles, herons, cormorants, river otters, seals and seagulls. An adult sea otter consumes approximately 25% of its body weight each day in order to maintain its high metabolism! Due to their thick fur, sea otters became a major target of the maritime fur trade in the 18th and 19th century. We feature 65,000,000 royalty free photos, 337,000 stock footage clips, digital videos, vector clip art images, clipart pictures, background graphics, medical illustrations, and maps. u12495868 Fotosearch Stock Photography and Stock Footage helps you find the perfect photo or footage, fast! Sea otter floating in kelp. It weighs between 5 to 11 kg (11-25 pounds) and its thick tail is 17 to 18 inches long. Known as a keystone species, sea otters have a greater effect on their environment than other organisms within that system. River otters can live up to five years. This thick fur needs to be clean however, in order for the insulating air layer to be maintained between the water and their skin. 1. and are the smallest marine mammal in North America. Sea Otters & River Otters Otters are often seen along the British Columbia coast. 250.384.4444 | 1.800.470.3474, © 2021 SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours. Written by Christine Roper, SpringTide Naturalist. A B.C. They mostly hunt by diving and chasing in the water and … Koksala Canyon (Class 3+ to 4, 2 hours) The Koksala Canyon is a lively, introductory creeking run … Range & Habitat Victoria Harbour is a known hot spot for persistent organic pollutants and there is ongoing concern that contaminants in the marine environment could be negatively … River Otters can stay underwater for up to 4 minutes. They have the longest lasting fur of the entire otter/weasel family, and have been hunted for fur in many areas across North America. In B.C., this animal is found in the Georgia Depression and Coast and Mountain ecoprovinces. In addition, sea otters also play an indirect role in the reduction of carbon emissions into our atmosphere. It is a little confusing, though, because the species most often seen in these waters is the River Otter (Lutra canadensis). This tour has it all! Case Pack: 12 mix/match: Width: 14" Origin: USA: Height: 10" UPC: 6-25012-80164-5: Depth: 2.375" Item # 80164: Weight: 1.61 lbs. Sea otters can often be seen blowing into their fur and pushing it around with their paws, which traps the air in the hairs around their body and helps keeps them warm. BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) The river otters we currently have in care rang in the new year in their temporary home at Wild ARC. Two river otters swimming along in the harbour in Victoria, BC with one coming ashore to eat a caught crab. The tail comprises less than a third of the body length. Ewww…. Over the past few years however, we have had the exciting chance to view true sea otters near Victoria, as an increase in their population has brought them closer to home. woman says she was viciously attacked by a river otter while swimming in one of the province’s lakes earlier this month. They prefer marshes and wooded banks in fresh water areas but can be found along a … River Otter Animals Images Otters British Columbia Habitats Wildlife Victoria Nature Naturaleza. Although similar looking, river otters tend to be skinnier and less furry than their sea otter cousins, and spend much of their time running around on land as well as in the water. Therefore, sea otters must have relatively advanced structures within their brain to make these connections. We also saw loads of sealions and harbour seals. 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