River Otter (Lutra canadensis)

Photograph of the River Otter


The River Otter is a long, slender "weasel" with glossy, dark brown fur. It has webbed feet, a short neck and legs, and a very streamlined body adapted for life in the water.
Life History
Otters are superb swimmers and divers and can remain underwater for several minutes. Although they prefer living near the water, they can also travel over long distances on land from one body of water to another. Their short legs and long, slender physique makes their movements on land seem awkward, but they are graceful and nimble in the water.

River Otters seem to be very playful animals. They especially enjoy making slides on a steep, clayey bank and then sliding down them into the water on their bellies, face first with their front legs folded back.

Otters wander a great deal through their habitats. Because of this, they are scarce in most localities. They are usually shy, inconspicuous creatures that are rarely seen even though they are active throughout the year.
River Otters prefer to live near bodies of water such as lakes, large rivers, and streams. Along the Texas Gulf Coast region, otters also live in marshes, bayous, and brackish inlets.
Although the River Otter is currently found in the eastern half of the state, it was probably once distributed throughout the Panhandle, north-central, and southern Texas.