The Adorable River Otter
The Adorable River Otter can be found more easily in central and eastern Ohio. These adorable mammals are native to Ohio, but had been eliminated by the early 1900’s. Thanks to a project, by the ODNR, Division of Wildlife, to reintroduce river otters into Ohio, these playful creatures can now be found in more than half the counties in the state!
The favorite habitat of the River Otter is an area with rivers, lakes and marshes. They prefer areas where there is limited contact with people. As they are aquatic mammals, their homes are often beaver lodges that are no longer being used.
River otters are excellent swimmers, able to swim around 6 miles per hour. They use their feet and their thick tails to propel themselves through the water. On land, the river otters are able to run as fast as a person can run. If they are running on ice or hard snow, otters can go even faster!
The back feet of the river otter are webbed, with skin in between their toes. They have thick claws on all their toes. The webbing and claws help the river otter when it runs and swims.
Like kids, river otters like to play. They like to play with sticks and rocks, which they push around and toss in the water. Rocks are dropped into the water, then the otter dives down and gathers it back up, just to drop it in the water again. The adorable river otter has even been seen playing tag and sliding on banks of mud or snow.
Favorite foods of the river otter are small fish, frogs, insects, snakes and sometimes even small mammals. They typically hunt for their food in the evening and early morning, but will also hunt through the night. The river otter is nocturnal meaning it’s active at night. Even though they are nocturnal, in areas with the least amount of disturbance, it is not uncommon to see them out playing during the daytime as well.
The river otter measures in between 3 ½ and 5 feet long. They weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. Female river otters are quite a bit smaller than the male otters.
The fur of these cute creatures is very thick and dark brown to black in color. Their bellies are a lighter brown and their chins and throat areas are a silver gray color. The fur is very dense with a thick underfur and longer hairs called guard hairs, which are very coarse.
River otters have very coarse whiskers. These whiskers located behind and below its nose. They are very sensitive and help the otter with feeling around when swimming.
Aren’t River Otters Adorable?