River Otter

By Arthur W. & Dipankar Y.

River Otters

River Otters are 35 to 53 inches from tip to tip. Largest member of the weasel family. Otters use their tail like a rudder when they swim through the water. Adult otters weigh about 10-25 pounds.

History Of The River Otter

River Otters were commonly found in Illinois during early European settlements. Pollution was a very big problem to River Otters until the 1970s when many laws were created to help improve water quality in bodies of freshwater. Otters were listed as a state threatened animal in 1977. From 1994 through 1997, approximately 350 River Otters were captured in Louisiana and released in southeastern and central Illinois.

What River Otters Eat

River Otter's diet mainly consists of fish; sunfish, carp, and shad. Otters also will devour frogs when abundant. More uncommon food include salamanders, insects, snakes, etc.
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Habitats of a River Otter

Otters need rivers, streams, and lakes to thrive. The ones with woodland nearby are the best. Water quality is not important unless fish is scarce. Otters aren't able to dig their own burrows but instead they use old beaver dams. Pools and wetlands created by beaver dams, are good for food searching for otters.

Otter Reproduction

Otter Breeding happens from January through April. The fertilized eggs remain dormant for around 285 days to a whole year! After that they will cling to the wall of the uterus and then continue to develop. Then after 60 to 63 days later, the pups are born arriving between January and May the next year. Their eyes open at about 35 days of age. Females do most of the work when it comes to caring for the pups, but males help occasionally once the pups leave the nest.
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