North American River Otter​: here’s the scoop


Otters were once widespread among aquatic habitats throughout most of the continent. Unregulated trapping, degradation of aquatic habitats, pollution, residential and commercial development, dams, and water management use have all played a role in their decline. Over 4,000 otters have been reintroduced among 21 states and improvements in natural resource management techniques have allowed their populations to increase and remain stable.

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American River Otters. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

Insider Info

The Zoo’s female river otter, Dani, has given birth to five otter pups. Three in 2017 and two in 2014.


North American River Otter

Scientific name

Lontra canadensis


Terrestrial, freshwater, inland wetlands, intertidal and coastal marine


Carnivorous. Feeding primarily on fish, but also on frogs, crustaceans, birds and reptiles.

life expectancy

Up to 25 years

Did you know?

Otters have no blubber. They clean and dry their fur between dives to keep its insulating properties.


Central America, from Costa Rica to Mexico and in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and north into southwestern Ontario, Canada

Conservation status

Least Concern

Widespread and abundant