Fisheries and Land Resources

River Otter

River Otter
River Otter

Lutra canadensis

Status

Native to both Newfoundland and Labrador.

Habitat

Otters prefer shores of deep, clear water in lakes, rivers, marshes and ocean bays.

Range

Otters are found from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island and north to Yukon Territory.

Food

Primary diet of otter consists of fish such as minnows and trout but they will also feed on dragonfly nymphs, water beetles, bugs, frogs, tadpoles, newts and even mammals such as muskrat, meadow voles, shrews and beavers.

Predators/Threats

Otters are free from most predators fairly safe in their aquatic environment, but will occasionally be preyed upon by wolves or coyotes on trips over land.

Lifespan

Otter have been known to live sixteen years in captivity, and may live 10 - 20 yrs in the wild.

Appearance

The otter's fur is thick but fine, lustrous deep brown to almost black in color, with the exception of the chin and throat which are lighter. They have an elongated, thick, neck with long, narrow head and small eyes, small, tapering ear which is rounded at the tip, pointed, short tail; and broad, webbed feet.

Breeding Biology

Mating season is from late winter to early spring. After gestation of 9.5 - 12.5 months, including a period of delayed implantation, a litter of 2-3 young are produced, at least once a year but not necessarily every year.

Weight/Measurements

Measures approximately (3.4 - 3.7 ft)(101.5 -110 cm). Average weight of (16 - 17 lbs)(7.20 - 7.75 kg).

Notes:

  • The characteristic motions of otters extending their necks high above water while treading water has led people to mistake them for sea monsters in Loch Ness, Scotland.
  • Otters are fond of tobogganing down snowy, grassy or muddy slopes on their bellies.
  • Otters are easily tamed.

At Salmonier Nature Park

  • Usually one of the favorites at the park, noticed for its playfulness and willingness to "put on a show" for visitors.

 

 
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