Animal Facts
    Common Name:
    North American River Otter
    Scientific Name:
    Lontra canadensis
    • 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.
    8 in
    20 lb
    3.33 ft
    Life Span:
    9 yrs
    Gestation Period:
    60 days
    Number of Young:
    • Aquatic (freshwater)
    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.
    • Habitat Loss
    • Poaching / Over Consumption
    • Pollution
    Endangered Status
    Endangered Status
    • Extinct in Wild (EW)
    • Critically Endangered (CR)
    • Endangered (EN)
    • Vulnerable (VU)
    • Near Threatened (NT)
    • Least Concern (LC)
    • Not Evaluated (NE)

    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.

    Saving Species Plan Logo

    This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.