North American River Otter

North American River Otter

North American River Otter

North American River Otter

Animal North American River Otter
Common Name(s) North American River Otter, Northern River Otter, Common Otter
Scientific Name lontra Canadensis
Adults are called Male: Dog; Female: Bitch
Young are called Pups
Lifespan Wild: 8-9 yrs.; Captive: 21 yrs.
Adult Size 2 – 2.5 ft, plus a 1 – 1.5 ft tail
Adult Weight 11 – 30 lbs.
Birth Size
Birth Weight 5 oz.
Gestation Period 61 – 63 days
Number of Young 1 – 6
Where Found Most of Canada, Alaska, and north and eastern US
Habitat River, lake, swamp, and estuary ecosystems
Diet Primarily fish, but also crustaceans, turtles, amphibians, and small birds and rodents.
Conservation Status Least Concern
Threats Habitat loss, environmental pollution
North American River otters are very shy, curious, and playful members of the weasel family. They have a brown waterproof coat, which is lighter on the underside. They are stocky, with short legs and a long body. A long, tapering tail makes up about a third of the total length. The face is round, with short, round ears that will close to prevent water from entering. They have webbed feet that are extremely useful while swimming. They are one of the more social mustelids ( the term for the family group), and are often in family groups.

Interesting Facts

  • They can hold their breath for up to eight minutes underwater.
  • When young otters are about 2 months old, they learn to swim by being pushed into the water.
  • These otters live in a network of tunnels, one of which leads out into a large body of water.
  • They can swim up to almost 7 mph.

Additional Resources

  • http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/american-river-otter/?source=A-to-Z
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_river_otter
  • https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/north-american-river-otter-2/
  • http://seancrane.com/2011/02/river-otter-with-fish-2/
  • http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-08-09/news/fl-otter-habitat-renovation-20140808_1_flamingo-gardens-michael-ruggieri-otter