Challenges

The range of river otters has been greatly reduced by habitat loss. They are also sensitive to environmental pollution.

Conservation Status

Source: IUCN

Canadian Wilds Mini Map

You can find this animal in
Canadian Wilds

Important Facts

Stellar swimmers

River otters use their powerful tails and long bodies to propel themselves through the water. Their webbed feet, water-repellent fur and ability to close their nostrils and ears underwater make them great swimmers. They even enjoy wintery polar dips – breathing through holes in the surface of the ice.


Conservation connections

Otter populations are currently stable, but hunting for the fur, water pollution and other habitat destruction caused otters to decline in many parts of their range. River otters play an important part in healthy aquatic ecosystems.


Tough love

At about two months old, otter moms give their pups a rough introduction to their watery homes when they push them into the water. Fortunately, otters are natural swimmers and, with a bit of help from mom and dad, the pups quickly get the hang of it.

At a Glance

Scientific Name

Lontra canadensis

Weight

5 – 14 kg (11 – 31 lb)

Height

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Habitat

Freshwater and coastal marine habitats, including rivers, lakes, marshes and swamps in Canada and the United States.

Diet

Carnivore. River otters hunt at night for fish, their favourite food. They also eat other aquatic animals, including turtles, crayfish and crabs. Otters use their whiskers to find small animals in the dark water.