River Otter

Lutra canadensis

Image of River Otters[+ ZOOM] River Otters Michael Hogan

Description: River Otters are elusive denizens of Pine Barrens streams and wetlands. Happy in fresh and brackish waters, they most often are reported in the lower stretches of rivers flowing into the Atlantic coast estuaries. But they are also sometimes seen in cranberry bogs and reservoirs in the heart of the Pine Barrens. Otters have not been studied in the Pine Barrens. They once thrived throughout Canada and most of the United States, and while they have been extirpated in most of their historic range by humans, they are being reintroduced successfully in many places. Feeding mainly on fish, Otters will also eat shellfish, frogs and small mammals and birds. They are reported to enjoy blueberries. Given their secretive habits, one is far more likely to see otter-signs, such as the slides they wear in stream banks, than to catch sight of an otter itself.

Habitat: Found only in or near streams or lakes. Occasional in suitable Pine Barrens habitats. Tail thick at base. Webbed feet.

Body: 26 - 30" Tail: 12 - 17"

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