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River Wolves! Meet the Giant River Otters

Here is something to think about: what is furry, weighs anywhere between 50 and 75 pounds and is six feet long? If you guessed the Giant River Otter you would be right!  

But you will not find any of these giant-sized creatures anywhere near you. The giant river otter is found only in the rainforest rivers of South America.

Often called “river wolves,” the giant otters spend their days swimming and hunting for fish to eat. Using their powerful tails, legs and webbed feet, the otters can propel themselves through the water. The otter also has fur that helps repel, or resist water as they swim. It also helps that their ears and nostrils close up when they are underwater. All in all, the giant river otter is definitely one of nature’s ultimate swimming machines!

Giant River Otter River Wolves immersed in river, Peru
The otters live in large groups called “holts,” which often consist of a male and female with their offspring. Home to giant river otters can be under a log or by building burrows near riverbanks.

The giant river otters are also very vocal. Scientists have discovered that the animals can make nine different kinds of sounds! These include warning calls and sounds to make contact with other otters.

Something to Think About: How has the giant river otter’s body adapted itself to living in the water? Why do you think the giant river otters are called “river wolves”?

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 3: Chapter 1, Lesson 5, GK-5

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