An illustrated River Otter looks playful.

Something corkscrews underwater and pops up, making faces at you…

It’s Otto the river otter! Move away, and he follows, showing off to get your attention. Chase him and he leads to new discoveries. Energetic and quick, with a long tail and thick brown fur, Otto can play and hunt both on land and in water.

Biology in the Wild

Otters can live in hot or cold climates all over North America, as long as there’s plenty of wilderness and water. They measure three to four feet long, weigh between 11 and 30 pounds, and have special feet—they’re webbed for agile swimming, but they can also grip and hold prey. Otter’s heads are flat and streamlined, with long whiskers to help them feel their way though murky water, or even sense underwater prey such as frogs, crayfish, fish, turtles and snakes. They can hold their breath very well, and stay under the surface for as long as eight minutes! Sometimes solitary and sometimes living in small groups, they whistle, grunt and even chuckle to communicate.