Congratulations to Susan Elliott for winning the February 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Sue’s image of three North American River Otters spotted lounging, fittingly, on Otter Creek, garnered the most faves this month.
The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal that is found in and along waterways and coasts. An adult river otter can weigh between 11 and 30 pounds. The North American River Otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent fur coat. In the 1800s and early 1900s, otters were over-harvested almost to the point of extirpation in many areas of their range. Due to pollution, habitat loss, and unregulated hunting and trapping, otter populations declined precipitously in the Northeast. Greater conservation efforts combined with closely monitored harvesting have allowed their populations to rebound to a healthy and stable size.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!