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River Otter

Lontra canadensis


The river otter is adapted for both land and water with short legs, webbed toes, and a strong, flattened tail.  Otters have five toes and the heel pad tends to be somewhat horseshoe shaped. The ears appear large on its small flattened head.  River otter fur ranges from light to dark, rich brown.   


This water-loving animal is found throughout Florida except the Keys.  River otters usually prefer fresh water and can be found in rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and swamps.  Otters live in burrows on the bank of the water body, often under tree roots.  They may dig their own burrow or remodel a beaver’s burrow.


River otters are mostly nocturnal and feed on crayfish and fish.  They are social animals, and groups usually consist of a female and her juvenile offspring.

Additional Information:

If you have a fish pond an otter may find it. The best way to prevent otters from raiding your fish pond is to exclude them from the pond with fencing or a cover.

Living with River Otters 


Image Credit: Kyle Moon