One of Missouri’s most curious creatures that dominates its lakes and streams is one that is fun to watch.
The river otter is a playful cousin to mink, weasels and skunks. (Like their relatives, they use their scent glands to mark their territory and scare off intruders.) Otters live along slow-moving streams and lakes.
An otter’s long slender body and short legs are perfect for life in the water. Webbed feet and a long tail help otters out-maneuver even the most agile fish. Otters seem to have a great zest for sliding…in a pool of water or a snowdrift.
Fish and crayfish make for favorite meals, and frogs, salamanders, birds and insects make for a well-balanced diet.
Otters use old burrows from muskrats, beavers and groundhogs for dens. Two to four young are born in late winter and stay with their parents for a year.
Find out more about the river otter with MDC’s Field Guide.