Nature Canada

The River Otter Is Making A Splash Across North America

The river otter knows a thing or two about thriving in the water. In Addition to their webbed feet, water-repellent fur, and protective third eyelids, they can close their ears and nostrils while diving underwater. Their sleek, long bodies and thick tail help them to reach water depths of up to 20-metres and 400-meter distances. When they’re not frolicking or hunting fish, mussels, and crayfish in the water, you can catch them playing on land. This semi-aquatic creature loves to slide on ice, snow, grass, and mud -they consider it a great mode of transportation. This playful means of travel is usually accompanied by various sounds, ranging from low growls to high-pitched chirps.

The river otter can be found in every province in Canada -except for Prince Edward Island, where they’ve been extirpated. They’re found throughout North America and don’t seem to mind rivers, lakes, swamps, and coastal shores to house their burrows along. 

It’s All About Connection For The River Otter

Body language and vocalization go hand-in-hand when it comes to communicating for the river otter. Whistles, yelps, growls, and even screams can be heard as family members chat with each other. Activities that we see as play, such as tail-chasing, burrowing, and sliding, help strengthen social bonds. These activities even help to teach young otters hunting techniques. 

River otters tend to live alone or in pairs. When they do expand their social circle, it is usually with family members. While their home turf can be as large as 30 square miles, they typically reside within 3 to 15 square miles. This drastically decreases during the mating season in the later winter and early spring. Fellow otters and other creatures can always tell when they’ve stumbled upon an otter’s turf as they spend a great deal of time marking their territory. Aside from the classic scratching, urination, and defecation means of marking, they also release a strong, musky odour from their scent glands at the base of their tail. 

Take Action for River Otters in Canada

The river otter is an adaptable creature. Here in Canada, we know a thing or two about changing seasons, and these playful animals don’t seem to mind hot or cold climates. That said, they’re highly susceptible to environmental pollution and human disturbances to their dwellings. Protecting water quality is a primary factor in protecting river otter populations, both future, and present.

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