North american river otter
Northern river otter
Synonym(s): Lutra canadensis
River otters can be found in rivers, ponds, lakes and estuaries in wooded areas throughout Florida. The range extends throughout the southeastern United States west into Texas, up the Mississippi River and Atlantic seaboard, all of New England and the Great Lakes region, much of Canada, plus the northern Rockies and Pacific northwest to Alaska.
These aquatic mammals have an elongated body from 0.9-1.3 m (35-52 in.) long, widest at the hips, with dark brown fur and paler underneath, but appearing black when wet. Males are larger and darker than the females. A long tapered tail is thick at the base and from 30-51 cm (12-20 in.) in length. The head is broad and flattened, with small eyes and ears and prominent whitish whiskers. The nostrils close when underwater and the feet are webbed for swimming.
Otters are playful, often frolicking in the water or sliding on mud, snow or ice and are very fast swimmers. They can stay submerged for several minutes, with the ability to dive as deep as 17 meters (55 ft.) and swim up to 0.4 km (1/4 mile) underwater if necessary.
The diet of river otters is primarily slow non-game fish but also includes crustaceans such as crayfish, mollusks, amphibians, small birds and mammals and some plants.
Video by Paul Rebmann of a river otter at Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee.
Lontra canadensis is a member of the Mustelidae - Weasel family.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce page for ths species
Date record last modified: Jun 21, 2019