North American river otter in exhibit

North American River Otter

Scientific Name
Lontra canadensis
Canada and the United States
Rivers, lakes, and wetlands
Estimated Wild Population
North American river otter in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

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Physical Description

North American river otters have long, streamlined bodies that help them move easily through the water, propelled by their webbed feet. Their brown waterproof fur helps them retain heat. These otters feed on fish, crayfish, insects, turtles, frogs, and other water animals. They live alone or in family groups consisting of a female and her offspring. Females retreat to dens to give birth to their young, called kits, which take to the water after only two months.

Interesting Fact 1

North American river otters have long, sensory whiskers that can detect prey in cloudy water.

Interesting Fact 2

These social mammals play hide and seek, slide down slopes, and use their paws to juggle.

Interesting Fact 3

They can hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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