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River Otter

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Genus species Lontra canadensis
Description The river otter is a large, semi-aquatic member of the weasel family whoes long muscular tails accounting for 35-40 percent of its total length. Fur coloration usually is dark brown on the back with a lighter belly and throat. Otters are good swimmers, having a long streamlined body, short powerful legs and webbed feet.
Body length 35-54 inches
Weight 9-41 pounds
Habitat River otters are found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, streams, backwater sloughs, wetlands, lakes and ponds. Key factors that determine habitat use include food availability (primarily fish and crustaceans), year-round water supplies and adequate cover.
Breeding Season Birth - late February to late May
Gestation Period 2 months
Litter size 2-4
Status in North Dakota Year-round resident, rare
Food habits Predominately Fish

Conservation Issues

Habitat The greatest threat to river otters is destruction or modification of riparian habitat for the purposes of economic or housing developments, recreation, or for conversion to cropland.
Other Natural or Manmade Factors Aquatic habitats where river otters have been sighted and other water bodies throughout North Dakota have documented pollution issues (i.e., dissolved oxygen, sediment, nutrient and heavy metal levels) that could impact survival of otters by reducing prey availability or impairing reproduction.

River otters are susceptible to human-caused mortality, including incidental trapping and collisions with vehicles.