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North American  River Otter

North American River Otter

Common Name:
North American River Otter
Scientific Name:
Lontra canadensis
Gestation Period:
60 days
  • Aquatic (freshwater)
8 in
3.33 ft
Life Span:
9 yrs
Number of Young:
20 lb

Did you know river otters can dive to 60 feet? Learn more about North American river otters.

Care & Wellness:

The development of zoo animal diets uses careful research and design to meet each species’ needs. For otters, this means a diet of only fish. Keepers and veterinarians closely watch body condition, behavior, and consumption of diet. These observations may lead to adjustments to keep the otters healthy.

  • Social, they often live in groups including a mother and pups or small groups of all males.
  • Graceful swimmers, they can dive to 60 feet and often stay under water four minutes.
  • Their playful manner strengthens bonds, marks territory, and helps hone hunting skills.
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)
Fun Facts:
  • They are often beneficial to game fish since otters regularly eat non-game fish, reducing competition.
  • Touch and body posture are often used in communication, along with a wide variety of vocal calls.
  • Sensitive whiskers help navigate murky water in search of food or obstacles.
A North American river otter laying on a rock.