Skip Navigation

River Otter

Lutra canadensis


The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems. The den typically has many tunnel openings, one of which generally allows the otter to enter and exit the body of water.

Otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing their long bodies. They also have webbed feet, water repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water.

River otters primarily eat fish. They are also known to eat whatever is easiest to find, like crustaceans, mollusks, insects, birds, oysters, shellfish, crabs, crayfish, frogs, rodents, turtles and aquatic invertebrates. 

Facts About River Otter

River otters are very playful animals and can very often be seen playing games.

Otters are very sensitive to environmental pollution. 

River otters can stay underwater for up to eight minutes. 

They can also dive to a depth of 60 feet! 

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2013
Return to main navigation