North American River Otter

Origin: North America

Size: Adults can weigh between 11 and 30 lbs.

Males tend to be larger than females

average between 26 to 46in in body length

Lifespan: In captivity average 21 years, and in the wild 8-9 years

Diet: Carnivorus

Activity: Generally nocturnal

Reproduction: Breeding season is from December to April.

  • Female estrus lasts about a month per year, and true gestation lasts 61 days. River otters delay implantation up to eight months

  • Young are born between February and April. Birthing process can take three to eight hours

  • Litter size can be up to five pups but tends to average three pups

  • Otter pups are weaned at 12 weeks they are at adult weight at 3-4 years of age

  • Females raise the young alone.

  • Mothers intorduce the pups to water at two months of age

  • Otters often operate as family units with mothers and offspring and sometimes fathers as well

  • Yearlings will venture out in search of new territories

  • Many young males will establish male groups


Extra Facts: The river otter is a semi aquatic mammal

It establishes a burro close to the waters edge

The den usually has many tunnel openings, One of which allows the otter to enter and exit the water

their right lung is larger than their left, Having four lobes compared with two for the left. It is believed to be adaptive for underwater swimming.

river otters have 36 teeth

  • They travel up to 26 miles in one day

  • Often beavers anfdotters share the same ponds or streams

  • They can swim at speeds of up to 6 mph



 Get the Latest News & Updates

Contact Us


4270 Georgetown Road

Lexington, KY 40511



Kentucky Wildlife Center, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. We do not receive any donations in exchange for goods or services rendered.