World Otter Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday of May. In celebration, here’s a fun video below of the North American river otter; Lontra canadensis, that I filmed at the High Desert Museum located in my town of Bend, Oregon.
North American River Otters
Fascinating Facts About Otters
• Otters belong to a family of carnivorous mammals known as the Mustelids which includes mink, marten, weasels, badgers, ferrets, and wolverines.
• There are 13 species of otters of two types: river otters and sea otters.
• River otters are semi-aquatic, living in rivers, lakes and wetlands and inhabit all continents except Australia and Antarctica.
• There are only two species of sea otters; the Marine Otter of South America’s Pacific coast and the Sea Otter of North America’s Pacific Northwest region.
• Male otters are called dogs or boars, females are called bitches or sows, and their offspring are called pups. A group of otters is known as a bevy, family, lodge, or romp.
• Otters have many adaptations for life in the water and are strong swimmers. They are streamlined, with trim bodies and a long powerful tail that acts like a rudder. They also have webbing between their toes and their nostrils and ears can close when they dive underwater. Otters lack a layer of blubber so they must keep warm with their waterproof fur.
• In fact, otters have the densest fur known in the animal kingdom; up to a million hairs per square inch!
• Many of the world’s species of otters are endangered due to historic hunting for their luxurious fur and loss of habitat.
Learn More About Otters
- Learn more about River Otters on the National Wildlife Federation website.
- Check out my online course, Sketching Mammals of the World where you’ll learn more about otters and many other mammals of the land, sea, rivers, and skies!