North American River Otter – Lutra Canadensis
Habitat: River otters are found living in rivers, creeks, swamps and lakes across much of North America. They are sometimes encountered in coastal waters.
Adaptations: With their webbed feet, short legs and long bodies, otters are well adapted to life in the water. They swim easily, flexing their bodies and muscular tails up and down and paddling with their hind feet. An otter’s flexible body makes it an underwater acrobat, as it can turn somersaults in the water. They swim on their backs or on their bellies. Otters can stay submerged in the water for up to eight minutes at a time.
Diet: Otters eat fish, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, reptiles, birds, small mammals and fruit.
Fun Fact: Otters are able to swim even in the coldest winters because of their remarkable fur coat – an outer layer that repels water –and a warm inner coat. When foraging underwater, they use their whiskers to feel for prey, as their senses of smell, vision, and hearing are diminished underwater.