The North American river otter, aka Canadian otter, is found in North America from Canada and Alaska to the Rio Grande. They steer clear of arid deserts and treeless Arctic regions. These otters prefer riparian zones and can be found in the same locations as beavers. They can live around both marine and fresh water ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and marshes. These cute critters are relatives of weasels, stoats, mink, wolverines, and badgers. Like all Mustelids, they have scent glands that they use to mark their territory. North American river otters are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Lontra canadensis
Weight: Up to 18 lbs.
Length: Up to 2.2 feet
Lifespan: Up to 21 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) These otters have a large amount of vocalizations, including: chirps, whistles, twitters, buzzes, chuckles, and growls.
2.) River otters can hold their breath underwater for up to 8 minutes!
3.) Otters prey on fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, snails, worms, water insects, small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, turtles, and aquatic invertebrates.
5.) They also face mortality at the hands of illegal shooting, trapping, vehicles, and accidental captures.
But wait, there’s more on the North American river otter!
6.) Like house cats, they always wash themselves after every meal.
7.) North American river otters are able to dive up to 60 feet!
Did you know…?
The otter is the biggest member of the weasel family.
8.) Females can undergo delayed implantation. This is where the male mates with the female but she doesn’t actually start gestating for months later. When the conditions are optimal, she will birth 2 – 3 pups.