north american river otter

Lontra canadensis

Body Length:2'–4'
Tail Length:12"–18"
Weight:6–30 lbs
Geographic Distribution:Alaska, most of Canada, and parts of the continental United States south to Florida
Habitat:Rivers, wetlands along rivers, streams, swamps, ponds, and lakes
Wild Diet:Fish, frogs, crayfish, aquatic insects, clams, and turtles
Zoo Diet:Commercial carnivore diet, dog food, fish, crayfish, clams, fruits, vegetables, and eggs
Status in the Wild:Least Concern
Location:The Swamp

River otters have brown fur on the back with a paler underbelly. The lower jaw and throat are whitish. They have a head that looks flat on top but is otherwise rounded and supported by a short neck that is as wide as their skull. The body of a river otter is cylindrical and ends in a muscular and flexible tail that is thicker at the base than at the tip. They have short legs and webbed toes that allow them to thrive as swimmers. However, as aquatic mammals, they also have small ears and nostrils that can can be closed underwater, allowing them to hold their breath until they resurface.

• Otters belong to the weasel family.
• This is the only inland otter species in North America.
• They usually stay underwater for less than one minute but can stay underwater for six to eight minutes.
• River otters were legally trapped for fur up until 1976.