River Otter

Lontra canadensis
Did you know?: 

River otters are fond of "popsicles" (ice blocks with fruit or fish), especially in summer. In winter, otters like to play and slide in the snow.

A Fuzzy New Face: Otter Ambassador

As of January 2016, we have a new face in our otter exhibit! Stark (named for Iron Man himself) is a male river otter visiting us from the Long Island Aquarium. Our own otter, Slydell, will be visiting the Long Island Aquarium and polishing his social skills with their other river otter. We fondly refer to this as the Otter Ambassador Program.

Throughout this Ambassador Program both organizations will be working together to care for the otters, including:

  • Hosting each other's wildlife staff to tour each facility and share training and husbandry practices.
  • Sending each otter with his own supply of food and medications, along with expectations for enrichment, health and weight checks, etc.
  • Training each organization's staff to ensure that each otter is making progress in his training.
  • Sending updates and reports on the animal’s health and behavior status.

Come By and Say Hello to Stark!
Stark is brought into his holding area approximately 15 minutes before the EcoTarium closes (or before dark during winter months). So be sure to visit the otter exhibit before 4:30 p.m. (before 4:00 p.m. from mid-November through February).

The EcoTarium's Otter Ambassador

Our river otter, Slydell, was born in February 2007 in Slydell, Louisiana. He was hand-raised by the EcoTarium staff – they even taught him how to swim just like a young otter in the wild! When he was young, he liked to chase butterflies and to play with small buckets, sometimes swimming around with one on his head.

Slydell is currently serving as the EcoTarium's ottter ambassador to the Long Island Aquarium.

About River Otters

The North American River Otter lives in rivers, lakes and wetlands all over New England. Otters make tunnels and dens alongside the water, which allows them to easily come and go from the water. They are mainly carnivorous, eating fish, amphibians and birds, but will also eat aquatic plants. They use their sensitive whiskers to help feel their prey, since its difficult to smell and hear underwater.

River Otters are agile swimmers with long, smooth bodies, waterproof fur and webbed feet. They can close their nose and ears to keep water out and are capable of holding their breath for up to 8 minutes. They are often described as playful, and with good reason. They slide on muddy or icy hills, burrow in the snow and splash around in the water. Otters seem to enjoy playing, and it helps teach important survival skills to their young.