Thanks for all the participation and creative Mystery Photo guesses . The “neck of the bird” was actually the tail of the otter! (The quality of the photograph didn’t exactly help)! Congratulations to those who guessed correctly!
North American River Otters are considered semi-aquatic mammals, comfortable on land as well as in water. The bulk of their diet is fish, and they are well adapted for an aquatic environment year round. They have dense fur with a waterproof undercoat, a layer of fat that insulates the body, and a long, streamlined body. They also have webbed feet, clear eyelids (nictitating membranes), that act like goggles, valves in their ears and nose that close automatically when they submerge, and the ability to stay underwater for up to eight minutes. Surprisingly, young otters are not instant swimmers, and must be taught how to swim when they are a couple of months old. The mother pushes them into the water and then stays close, repeatedly pushing them under the water and then up to breath. When the lesson is over she grabs each otter by the neck and pulls it out of the water. (Photo taken at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.)
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