North American River Otter
This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is one of our Animal Ambassadors and is used in public and school programs.
River Otter History
Our river otter was found abandoned, raised by humans for a few months before being taken to a rehab center, where it was determined that he was imprinted. He came to CuriOdyssey in November 2009.
Fun facts about River Otters
Undulating the belly and tail provides most of the propulsion for a river otter's fast swimming, while the webbed paws are used for maneuvering. The thick tail can also be used as a rudder.
When river otters go underwater, their ears and nostrils close up to prevent water from coming in, and they have a nictitating membrane that covers their eyes when underwater so that their eyes are protected, while still allowing them to see.
What do River Otters eat?
At CuriOdyssey, we serve our river otter various fish, shrimp, squid, beef, vegetables and beef bones.
In the wild, river otters eat fish, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, sometimes birds and small mammals. They prefer slow-moving fish like catfish and eels to trout and salmon. They will occasionally kill deer bogged down in snow.
How long do River Otters live?
In the Wild: 10-15 years.
In Captivity: oldest otter was 26 years old, but usually about 15-20 years.
Where do River Otters live?
Anywhere with easy access to water and a steady food supply, such as rivers, lakes, swamps, estuaries, marshes; can also be found at high altitudes. North America from the Arctic circle to Mexico.
Are River Otters endangered?
They are of least concern in California. North American River Otters are listed in CITES Appendix II. They are not federally endangered because they range over all of North America from the Arctic Circle to Mexico, although they are considered threatened or endangered in some states where their numbers have significantly dropped.