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North American River Otters Use Abandoned Beaver Lodges As Dens

North American River Otters use dens (called holts) for giving birth and for shelter from weather extremes.  Den sites are usually close to the water line of rivers and lakes, and have multiple entrances underwater as well as on dry land.  They are often excavated under trees or rocks or in river banks, but otters also use abandoned muskrat burrows and beaver lodges as shelters (cohabitation with beavers has also been documented – see https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/beaver-otter-cohabitation/).

One of the most obvious and distinctive signs of otter occupancy of a den is the presence of their scat in the vicinity.  It usually has little form; rather, it consists of loose piles primarily composed of fish scales. Pictured is an abandoned beaver lodge that is currently occupied by several otters whose scat in the foreground and tracks and slides in the vicinity confirm their presence. A lack of any beaver sign indicates the lodge has been abandoned by its original inhabitants.

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3 responses

  1. Alice

    How fun to see all this otter…and wildlife activity. It’s good that the beaver dams are being recycled.

    February 26, 2021 at 7:18 am

  2. Alice

    🤭 I meant lodges…

    February 26, 2021 at 8:54 am

  3. judilindsey

    Hi Mary, The email I thought I had for you at mholland@vermontel.net mailto:mholland@vermontel.net came back to me. So I am sending an email to you on this address.

    Can you help me id these tracks? See attached. Thanks, Judi

    >

    February 26, 2021 at 9:16 am

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