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Five Interesting Facts About River Otters

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River otters are swimming mammals that reside in the water on a part-time basis, as they also spend significant amount of time on land. The nocturnal creatures, who are related to weasels, are a common presence in oceans, wetlands, reservoirs, rivers and lakes, and also throughout marine coastal locations.

Food Tracking Skills

River otters possess specialized vision that enables them to view potential meals while swimming in dark and unclear waters. Their tiny eyes can easily spot food that may not be as visible to other animals. River otter whiskers are also useful for detecting vibrations -- and therefore the proximity of prey. Apart from just strong vision and vibration detection, river otters have extraordinary smelling capabilities when it comes to fish. If a cluster of fish is somewhere nearby, a river otter may be capable of using his olfactory skills to track them down -- and then swiftly traveling to access and eat them!

Playful Animals

River otters are highly frolicsome, spirited and lively creatures. Some common river otter playtime activities include somersaulting, wrestling, flopping around, sliding -- all surely amusing sights to behold. Apart from just fun and games, sliding also has a functional purpose -- helping otters travel from point A to point B.

Underwater Time

River otters have the ability to remain underwater for an alarming eight minutes at a time. When they do this, they can shut both their nostrils and ears tightly -- a means of making sure that absolutely no H20 creeps in.

Rapid Metabolisms

River otters have extremely speedy metabolisms. After river otters enjoy a meal, the sustenance makes its way through their digestive tracts within the span of a single hour.


River otters have their share of predators, like most other animal species. However, the sturdy mammals are very skilled swimmers and are therefore not easy to trap while in aquatic environments. When river otters are out of the water, though, their common predators include wolves, bears, bald eagles, coyotes and bobcats.