The river otter’s muscular tail and broad webbed feet make the otter an excellent swimmer and diver, able to remain under water for six to eight minutes. The otter can close its nostrils and ears under water, and uses the sensitive whiskers around its snout to help locate prey.

Adopt-an-Animal: River Otter

Even as adults, otters often engage in playful activities, including chasing their own tails, underwater wrestling and sliding down slippery banks. They can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour when running on land, and will often combine running and sliding. In some areas, otters will live in small family groups that hunt, travel and den together. Otters can tread water in a vertical position with the head and chest above the water. Like other members of the weasel family, otters have a long, flexible body and short legs. Their fur is short, dense and water resistant; making them well-suited to cold weather conditions. 

 Your Adopt-an-Animal donation will be used to support these agile animals and further the San Francisco Zoological Society’s mission to connect people to wildlife, inspire caring for nature, and advance conservation action. An adoption of a North American river otter makes a great gift for friends, coworkers, family or for yourself!

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