River Otter

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!

River Otters
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!


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo