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Young Otters Just Beginning to Explore Outside Their Den

e-river otter 125Between February and April, female North American River Otters give birth to an average of two or three young inside their dens, which tend to be near water, usually in an excavated cavity under tree roots, logs or thickets.  Occasionally they have been known to give birth in abandoned beaver and muskrat lodges as well as woodchuck burrows.  The mother doesn’t allow her young to exit their den until they are three or four months old, which, for the oldest litters, is in May.  At this point, after their waterproof adult coats have grown in, she begins to teach them how to swim (surprisingly, this skill is not innate). The mother continues to be very protective and secretive, hiding and shielding the young (even from their father) until they are about six month old.  Thus, glimpses of young otters are not likely to be had until late summer, and only then if you’re lucky. (Photo: adult river otter. Thanks to Heidi Marcotte and Tom Wetmore for photo op.)

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5 responses

  1. Cheron barton


    Sent from my iPhone


    May 12, 2016 at 10:00 am

  2. mariagianferrari

    I LOVE otters! They’re such playful creatures! I’m so grateful that they’ve made a comeback. One visited my husband’s place of business last fall, and I was hoping it would stick around, but it must have been a juvenile just passing through 😦

    May 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

  3. I know we have them here from tracks, but they are hard to spot. Usually, on the fly.

    May 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

  4. I do know from personal experience what a single otter can do to a trout pond over the coarse of a winter as they cache them beneath the surface of the ice and go back for a snack at their convenience, meanwhile come spring, out of 84 rainbows, I was left with a ZERO count.
    The otter is not my friend, strictly for selfish reasons!
    Bill Farr…

    May 13, 2016 at 7:59 am

    • Wow! 84! I didn’t know that they cached fish under the ice – fascinating! I understand your sentiments!

      May 13, 2016 at 8:14 am

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