Common Name: North American River Otter

Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Length: 3.7 ft. (males; 3.2 ft. (females)

Weight:  11-30 lbs.

Lifespan:  Up to 14 years in the wild; Up to 25 years in captivity.


  • These otters swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing their long bodies.  They also have webbed feet, water repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water.


  • River otters are members of the weasel family.  They hunt at night and feed on whatever might be available.  Fish are a favorite food, but the also eat amphibians, turtles, and crayfish.


  • They remain active in winter, using ice holes to surface and breath.  They can hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes.


  • Otters are very sensitive to water pollution and are often the first indicators of poor water quality.



Currently at ZooMontana:

Benjamin – Male Born (est) 2/2009
Amelia – Female Born (est) 2/2009



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