Canadian Otter Factfile

Scientific Name : Lontra canadensis

World Distribution

Canadian otters are found in Canada and some parts of North America.


They live near rivers and lakes, making dens in the riverbank known as holts.
They are fairly adaptable, in that so long as they are near water, they can live in quite a wide range of habitats, including very cold or hot areas.


Their main diet consists of creatures from the water, such as fish, frogs, crayfish and turtles. They also eat the occasional bird, rodent or rabbit.
They have very strong, sharp teeth for grabbing and eating their prey.


Occasionally otters might be preyed upon by mountain lions, bears or eagles (especially young otters).
For centuries, man has hunted otters for their skins.


Males and females keep to their own territories for most of the year, but come together to mate in the early spring.

The fertilised egg, however, does not start developing straight away, so the young are not born until the following year. Baby otters are born blind, and are fairlly helpless for the first couple of months. When they are big enough to venture out of the nest their mother teaches them to hunt and swim. They leave her when they are a year old, and start to breed themselves when they are 2 or 3.

There are between 1 and 5 in a litter.

Other information

Facts and Figures


Canadian Otter

Type of animal


Where found

North America


lakes, rivers, streams



Average length

80 cm

Average weight

7.5 kg

Average number of young per year



62 days

Maximum lifespan

25 years
Note for Teachers

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