These playful creatures are perfectly adapted for life in the water. They have sleek bodies, small heads, and a long tail. They also have webbed feet with short claws; perfect for swimming. River otters have dark brown fur that looks black when wet; it keeps them warm in frigid waters. If you see one in a river, you could confuse them with a small seal, even though seals and otters are not closely related. River otters seem always on the move and they are especially known for their playfulness. They slide in mud and snow slides along river banks and seem to have great fun!
A pair of river otters, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Habitat: River otters never stray far from water. You can see them along river banks or in streams, rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes, and beaver ponds. They are often spotted in the Lower Salmon River, which BLM manages out of the Cottonwood Field Office.
Food : They eat mainly aquatic (water-dwelling) animals, mostly fish, frogs, crayfish, and turtles. River otters will also eat nesting aquatic birds, insects, earthworms, and even young muskrats or beavers. You can sometimes see them diving for fish on the Lower Salmon River.
Fun Facts: River otters have a reputation for being playful and fun to watch; they have been seen playing with sticks in the water or dropping pebbles down to the bottom of the river so they can retrieve them. While in the water, they are very swift and agile; they can swim underwater for up to six miles per hour for two to three minutes!