North America River Otter

STATUSLeast Concern


DIETCrayfish, shellfish, frogs, fish, and small rodents

RANGENorth America

HABITATRivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, coastal shorelines, and marshes

North America River Otter

Physical Description

North American river otters have long, streamlined bodies with broad heads, short legs, webbed toes and long, powerful tails. They average 3-4 feet in length (with tail). Males are typically bigger and lighter in color.


The main predators of otters include alligators, bobcats, and coyotes.


In the wild, the average lifespan of a river otter is 8-9 years old. Under human care, they can live into their 20s.


Males will often breed with multiple females. After a 2 month gestation period, females will give birth to an average of 3 pups, which will be born in a den near the water.

Fun Facts

  • North American River Otters can stay under water for up to 8 minutes and can dive to depths of 60 feet!
  • Playful activities help strengthen social bonds and help young otters practice hunting techniques.

Conservation Messaging

North American River otters spend about ⅔rds of their life in the water. They will use the water to hunt, play, and clean themselves. Water pollution has been a major issue for river otters since they have a low tolerance of pollution and so they are considered an important indicator species for aquatic habitats.

This means, low numbers and low birth rates of river otters in a specific habitat probably means it is significantly polluted. By keeping the waterways and neighboring areas free of debris, pesticides, and trash we can help protect these critical aquatic habitats and save species like the North American River Otter.

   Buy Tickets!   
Skip to content