Northern River Otter
Northern River Otter Facts
These are very long animals with large sized heads. They feature hair that is very dense. You
will notice that they have extremely long whiskers as well. They have both claws and webbed feet that help
them in the water and on land. In addition to being brown or black, they also feature some areas of light
The Northern River Otter is found both in Canada and the United States. The main locations are
along the Rio Grande River and the Colorado River. They are highly adaptable animals so as long as they have
access to enough food and water they can thrive. They tend to stick to freshwater areas including lakes and
rivers. They do fine in both cold and warm temperatures of water.
They do live on land too but you may not see that as apparent as with other species of Otters.
They are known to dig tunnels under the water that lead to their dens. This is just one more way that they
are able to exhibit their amazing intelligence and skill.
The Northern River Otter spends its time living alone but they can form groups called rafts like
most other species do. One of the moments that they will be together is during mating or when a mother is
caring for her young pup. The females are wonderful with the young though. They play with them and teach them
a variety of skills that help to increase their chances of surviving on their own.
They have a home range though that can be very wide. This is where they will explore and hunt.
The home range of these Otters often overlaps with each other. Generally they don’t show aggression towards
each other when they come into contact this way. Males will become more aggressive towards each other though
when they are looking for females to mate with.
This species of Otter generally will hunt at night. However, there isn’t any set guideline to
this and you will see some of them that do their hunting during the day. They can stay under the water for
about 8 minutes as they search for food. They consume a wide variety of foods including fish, crabs, turtles,
birds, and even eggs that they find buried on the land.
The males and females are always segregated with this species of Otter unless they are courting
or mating. It isn’t uncommon for a single male to mate with a dozen females though during this time of the
year. Mating can occur twice a year – winter and in the early part of spring. They are ready to mate between
2 and 3 years of age.
Generally the offspring will be born in about 60 days. However, depending on the living
situation for the Otters it can be up to a year. Delayed implantation can occur which allows them embryo to
attach to the uterus many months after the mating process has taken place.
Ongoing conservation efforts have been in place to reintroduce these Otters to their natural
habitat in New Mexico. The Northern River Otter doesn’t do well in bodies of water with high levels of
pollution. They either have to be relocated or they will end up dying there.
In the wild they can generally live about 8 years. They are about to live more than twice that
long in captivity though. They have quite a few predators in the wild including coyote, alligators, and even
The exact number of them that is left out there isn’t known. Many believe that the numbers are
high enough that they aren’t in danger. Still, efforts are in place to protect their habitat and to keep the
waters they live in free from pollution.