About River Otters

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What should I know about the North American river otter?

The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal that lives in and around the rivers, estuaries, lakes and coasts of North America. They are common in the Bay Area. River otters are members of the weasel family and are not closely related to sea otters.

What do they eat?

Skilled hunters in the water and on land, river otters eat amphibians, birds, crayfish, turtles and fish.

How long do they live?

Most river otters live about 15 years.

What do they weigh?

Males usually weigh about 25 lbs., while females weigh about 18 lbs.

Are they endangered?

No. Although they are no longer found in many areas where they historically lived, river otters are not threatened or endangered. However, they are sensitive to water pollution and toxins, and habitat destruction is a significant threat.

What's the best thing about them?

They're endearing and playful—and would be fantastic ambassadors for the aquarium and its mission—to protect, restore and inspire conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed, from the Sierra to the sea.