Ralph Arwood Photography

Otter Party

Saturday, July 29, 2017 8:10 AM

North American river otter (Lontra canadensis)

Communication among North American river otters is accomplished mainly by olfactory and auditory signals. Scent marking is imperative for intergroup communication. The river otter scent-marks with feces, urine, and anal sac secretions.

River otters can produce a snarling growl or hissing bark when bothered, and a shrill whistle when in pain. When at play or traveling, they sometimes give off low, purring grunts. The alarm call, given when shocked or distressed by potential danger, is an explosive snort, made by expelling air through the nostrils. River otters also may use a birdlike chirp for communication over longer distances, but the most common sound heard among a group of otters is low-frequency chuckling.