The Return of the River Otter


The North American River Otter has made a come back through conservative management and reintroduce efforts. Throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s although the River Otter population has been considered stable since the 1950’s. They can be found in every province except Prince Edward Island where they have been extirpated.

From nose to the tip of their tail they can measure up to 1.4 metres and weigh almost 9 kilograms. River otters breed in late winter or early spring and give birth to between 1 and 6 pups which are born blind. The pups will stay inside the den for the first month and then will start to venture out with their parents.Otters are expert swimmers and opportunists when it comes to their diet, they will eat frogs, crayfish, amphibians and aquatic insects but they do prefer fish.

Otters are members of the mustelid family - weasels, mink, fishers, skunks and wolverines but they definitely have a much more playful attitude and are great to watch frolicking in the water or on land in the snow as they do not hibernate.

River Otters are at the top of their food chain and thus are “sentinel" or “indicator” species and the one constant in the wide variety of habitats that the otter now frequents is the availability of fresh clean water and an abundance of prey.

So when you see one of these playful creatures, sit back and enjoy their happiness and be proud of your clean and healthy waterway.