Predator vs. Prey: River Otter vs. Northern Crayfish

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From Xplor: November/December 2017

Whisker Sensors

It’s hard to smell and see underwater, especially if it’s dark or murky, so otters use their sensitive whiskers to help them find prey.

Super Swimmers

With powerful, streamlined bodies, webbed feet, and nearly waterproof fur, few land mammals are fitter for life in the water than otters.

Crayfish Crushers

Otters have special teeth for crunching fish bones, crayfish skeletons, and mussel shells.

Fast Backer-Upper

If its big claws don’t scare away foes, the crayfish flicks its strong tail to shoot backward under the nearest rock.

Powers of Detection

Compound eyes and sensitive antennae help the crayfish detect predators and prey.

And the winner is…

The crayfish’s powers of detection, fierce claws, and quick retreat often can’t beat the otter’s speed, senses, and killer jaws. The otter wins another crayfish dinner.

Also In This Issue

Quail Hunting
Bagging a bobwhite takes a smart dog, a patient grandpa, and lots of walking.

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White