North American River Otter

The North American river otter is well-known for its playful attitudes and swimming abilities. The torpedo-shaped body, paddle-like tail, webbed feet and water repellent fur are all great adaptations that help the otter move through the water with ease. This otter even has the ability to stay underwater 6- 8 minutes. The river otter usually has a home burrow close to the water where it can sleep and raise its young.

North American River Otter

Lontra canadensis

Habitat: Found throughout parts of North America. Prefers deep clear lakes, rivers, marshes, or ocean bays.

Diet in the wild: Fish; crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snails, clams, snakes, turtles, birds, some small mammals, larvae of aquatic insects, and worms

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Feline diet, canine diet, carrot, tomato juice, raw egg, bones and mackerel

Size: Weigh about 20 pounds; head to rear length 26-42 inches

Family: Babies aren’t born swimmers. Mother will push her 2 month old babies (kits) into the water to force them to learn how to swim

Status: Least Concern

Did you know? A river otter can close its nostrils to keep water out during long dives.

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