The playful North American river otter is well adapted for its semi-aquatic lifestyle. It’s equipped with thick fur, short legs, webbed feet and a narrow body. All of these features play a main role in allowing the otter to swim efficiently, even in frigid temperatures. Their thick fur is water-repellent and serves as an insulator against extreme temperature conditions. The slender and flexible shape of its body allows it to swiftly move through the water and through underground tunnels. A river otter can dive up to 60 feet and swim 7 miles per hour.

North American river otters suffered great loss to their population, in the 20th century, due to habitat loss and water pollution. Conservation efforts were put in place and otters were reintroduced, increasing their population. Elmwood Park Zoo participates in the American River Otter Species Survival Plan, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Find me at EPZ

Location: The Wetlands

Arrived at EPZ: Rocky - 1/27/2010, Piper - 6/29/2020