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On the mornings of Friday, April 19 and Thursday, April 25, we will have several field trips on site. Please anticipate large groups and a busier campus!


North American River Otter


Latin Name

Lontra canadensis

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.


Private River Otter Feeding

Otter with mouth openEnhance your CuriOdyssey visit by helping feed Gunner his dinner! Our river otter feeding is a premium 20-minute experience where you’ll be escorted to a feeding platform to hand-toss fish into Gunner's enclosure while a keeper talks and answers your questions.

Available Tuesdays through Sundays at 4:30 PM and must be reserved at least 2 weeks in advance.


Help provide for the care and feeding of our wildlife guests by sponsoring an animal of your choice for a year.

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1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ohlone Land Acknowledgement
[email protected]

CuriOdyssey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Tax ID 94-1262434

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The gold standard for animal care and welfare.
ASTC Member. Association of Science and Technology Centers.
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