Kids' Page: River Otters

October, 2016




Did you know that river otters can close their nose and ears and can hold their breath for up to eight minutes?

River otters spend most of their lives in water. They are aquatic mammals that love to swim and play in rivers, streams and lakes.

Because of their wet habitat, river otters have webbed hind feet and thick, dark brown fur to keep them warm. A long, sturdy tail helps them swim after their food. They can even close their nostrils to keep out water while they swim!

River otters eat anything aquatic, from fish and crabs to frogs and reptile eggs. River otters communicate to each other in whistles and groans. They live in burrows and hollow logs, called dens, by bodies of water where they breed in winter and spring. River otters teach their babies, called pups, how to hunt.

Even though river otters live in water, they are just as playful and fun on land. They have claws on their front paws and slippery bellies that allow them to slide down muddy hills and even on ice. River otters are not an endangered animal, but they still need us to protect their wet habitats.

Next time you go swimming, pretend to be a river otter! You will have as much fun flipping and flopping underwater as they do.

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