Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis
Weight: 11 lbs.
River otters can be found throughout the US and Canada. Otters are natural swimmers and can be found in streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands and along marine coasts. North American river otters are equally at home in the water and on land. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge and are most active at night. The otter has a silky, luscious pelt, which is waterproof and allows the river otter to regulate its temperature. It has long been a staple of the fur trade. The color of its fur ranges from gray and white to brown and black. River otters are members of the weasel family. They hunt at night, primarily eat fish, but also eat turtles, crabs, crayfish, frogs, and insects. River otters can stay underwater for up to eight minutes and can close their ears and nostrils to keep water out. They have been known to dive to a depth of over 60 feet. These Otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and webbed feet. They remain active in winter, using ice holes to surface and breathe. They can hold their breath underwater for some eight minutes.