River otters Watch our otters frolic in their fresh water pool
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Type mammal
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Size 50cm
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Weight 11 kg
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Diet carnivores
  • Summary
  • Dietary
  • Habitat
  • Conservation
  • Watch our pair of otters playing, sliding, grooming, swimming and digging.

    Otters are very good swimmers with streamlined bodies and webbed feet. When swimming on the surface, legs are used to perform a doggy-paddle. When hunting underwater, however, the legs are folded close against the body and forward motion is powered by undulating the body and tail, just like a seal.

    Our otters are mostly active early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

  • Otters are carnivores and eat fish, crustacean, frogs, rodents and worms.

    In the wild, otters spend a lot of time foraging for food, so in the Zoo, food is often hidden in different parts of the enclosure so they have to search for it as they would in the wild. Otters dive in pursuit of fish, dragging bigger ones to the bank to eat. They can remain beneath the water for upwards of a minute.

  • River otters live in all types of habitats. The only consistency with these habitats is accessible high quality water and an abundant food supply.

    In the wild, North American river otters are found in fresh water and coastal areas. They are territorial animals, each defending a section of prime river bank or coast.

  • The North American river otter is not currently listed as an endangered species but all otters are vulnerable to pollution, habitat loss and hunting. Over 30,000 otter skins are sold in the US and Canada every year.

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