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Curious North American River Otter

July 05, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I have been watching and photographing a family of North American River Otters since May while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. A female and her three young pups have been moving around an  area almost a mile long. While I was photographing a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron eating Crayfish, the female Otter came up close to check me out. I was photographing from my pickup, so she had to raise up to try and get a look at me. I read that River Otters characteristically approach within a few feet of a boat or a person on shore because they're near-sighted, a consequence of vision adapted for underwater sight. After briefly checking me out she and her pups continue on.

North American River Otter - 070217-8964North American River Otter - 070217-8964North American River Otter - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge


North American River Otter Facts

  • An adult River Otter can weigh between 11 pounds and 30.9 pounds.
  • The River Otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.
  • The river otter is equally versatile in the water and on land.
  • Female Otters produce litters of one to six young.
  • North American River Otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish.
  • Most common fish they consume are perch, suckers, and catfish. Instances of river otters eating small mammals and occasionally birds have been reported as well.
  • North American river otters live an average of 21 years of age in captivity, but they can reach 25 years of age. However, they normally live about 8 to 9 years in the wild, but are capable of living up to 13 years of age.
  • River Otters have transparent nictitating membranes to protect their eyes while swimming.
  • North American River Otters are highly mobile and have the capacity of traveling up to 26 miles in one day.

You can read more about the North American River Otter on Wikipedia.


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