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North American River Otter

Mammals / Lontra canadensis
Length 35-51.2"
Conservation Status
Least Concern

Otters use special flaps to close off their nostrils and ears when underwater. They may remain submerged for up to eight minutes on one breath. Otters are well-designed for swimming and living in cold mountain streams. A member of the weasel family, it has an elongated body, short legs, webbed feet and a long stout tail.

Throughout Canada and United States except areas in Southwest
Fresh water and marine habitats.
Crayfish, mollusks, amphibians, reptiles and fish
River Otter Falls
Brought to you by EPB.

Out of the water it walks with an awkward humpbacked gait, sometimes belly-sliding down muddy or snow-covered hills. On the surface of the water it dog paddles, but underwater the otter swims with its entire body, pushing with its webbed feet and steering with its long tail. Its thick, sleek coat, which keeps it dry and warm, is made up of two types of hair. The longer outer hairs, called guard hairs, are water repellent. River otters make use of dens created by other animals, including beavers, and always give birth to their young between February and April.

Check out River Otter Falls, where a romp of agile otters have a spacious new home to enjoy. It’s designed to bring out the best in their natural behaviors. You’ll see them scampering up and down multi-tiered landscape which features a lengthy stream, waterfalls and cascades. You’ll be fascinated by their climbing abilities and athleticism underwater. The otters explore their habitat in various groups each day, so you might see two, three or four otters at any one time playfully tussling with one another.

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