North American River Otter

Latin Name Lontra canadensis
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae
IUCN status Least concern
Habitat Rivers, lakes, marshlands and adjacent forested areas
Distribution Throughout United States of America and Canada

General Information

Otters are semi-aquatic animals eating fish, frogs, crayfish, small birds and mammals. In the water they have few natural predators such as alligators, crocodiles and killer whales and polar bears.

On land they are more vulnerable to lynx, cougars, wolves etc.

In the wild they can live up to 13 years but in captivity some have survived to 25 years.

Fun Fact

NARO are diurnal and once fed they will spend the day resting or charging round the enclosure diving in and out of the water.

In the 1980’s this otter was rare or extinct in 26 of the 50 states of North America. Today, thanks to conservation efforts by zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centres, the number is now just 15 states and the work continues.

Keeper Notes

Our two handsome male otters are:

Jasper, born at the Park to Digger & Giggsy back in 2002.

Kodiak, born at Mole Hall in 2006, was then rehomed with us in 2012.

After both, Jasper's brother Hudson died in 2017, and Kodiak's brother Ottawa died in 2013, we decided to see if the two boys would accept living together. After a slow introduction in May/June 2017, we were delighted they have become such good companions and they moved back into the first Otter enclosure on the Park for Summer 2017.