North American River Otter

Lontra Canadensis
Conservation Status: Least Concern


  • They have short, powerful legs that help them paddle in water and gallop on land.
  • The back feet are broad and webbed with fixed claws.
  • Their tails help steer them as they swim through water or slide down hills.
  • They rely on their senses, especially their excellent vision.
  • They have thick and water-resistant fur.

Lifespan: 8 to 9 years in the wild and up to 20 in captivity.

Range and Habitat:

  • Canada and the United States, including Alaska.
  • Streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands.
  • They are found along marine coasts with vegetation or rock piles along the banks.

North American River Otter Range


  • Fish.
  • Crustaceans, snails, shellfish.
  • Rodents, birds.
  • Turtles and aquatic invertebrates.


  • They hunt at night.
  • River otters communicate with vocalizations or whistles, growls, chuckles, and screams.
  • They also communicate through scent mark, touch, and posture.
  • River otters are playful with sociable personalities.

Fun Facts:

  • They can give to depths of 60 feet.
  • They can hold their breath underwater for up to eight minutes.

Keeper Notes:

Moe was born in 2017 at Zoo Montana before coming to Ochsner Park Zoo. Moe enjoys putting items into his pools and wearing various buckets and containers on his head.