River Otter

Photos & Article by Jan Ramelli

The “River Otter” is fun to observe and often sighted in local lakes or rivers! This little guy was spotted on Antelope Lake. They mostly feed on trash or bottom fish; but, will also eat bass and trout. They also eat small mammals, freshwater clams and crawdads.

It’s permanent den is often dug into banks, with underwater and exposed entrances, and contains a nest of sticks, grass, reeds and leaves. If you watch closely, you may spot these creatures swimming along the surface with just their heads out, checking out their surroundings, or you may see them resting on exposed rocks or logs. They can hold their breath for several minutes, so if they are startled they may dive and swim quite a distance. They are also very playful; in the snow they will take a run at it and torpedo down a hill; or you may see them sliding down a muddy bank; or possibly just frolicking in the water rolling, swimming, and just playing!