It’s World Otter Day on May 25th.  In celebration, here’s a fun video below of 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, 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 which 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! In fact, the otter family will be the focus of an entire workshop in August (2022) which you can access live or at any time in the future as a replay inside of the course.