Otter (Lutra canadensis)

otter

Otters are highly skilled swimmers and love to play.

Distribution: widespread in Louisiana; widely distributed across Canada and the U.S., excluding portions of the arid southwest and some states along the Mid-Atlantic coast

Habitat: near water; dens in the bank of a canal or stream with the entrance below water level

Appearance: long, slender body ; flattened head; long flat tail, thick at the base and tapering towards the tip; dense, oily underfur; glossy guard hairs; brown; five fully webbed toes on each foot; adults average 15 pounds;36 teeth

Reproduction: breeds in late winter or early spring; gestation period can be as long as 10 months or more; young born in late winter; 1-3 kits per litter

Food habits: frogs, turtles, snakes, fish (generally non-game ), crayfish, crabs, birds, small land mammals like rats and mice

Habits: constantly on the move; young will stay with mother through 1st winter

Controls: adults rarely preyed upon; juveniles may be vulnerable to bobcats and coyotes; relatively free of parasites; suffer from habitat loss, pollution, and poisons

Values: usually help a trout stream by containing populations; can devastate a fish farm