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Scientific Name: Lutra canadensis
Range & Habitat: Major watersheds of Missouri and throughout North America near streams, rivers, and lakes, usually bordered by timber.
Size: 36-53 inches; 10-25 pounds
Life Span: Up to 19 years in zoos
Gestation: 9-12 months; 2-4 young
Wild Diet: Fish, crayfish, and sometimes frogs, snakes, birds, turtles, snails and earthworms
Zoo Diet: Carnivore diet, smelt and mackerel
Habits: When traveling, members of the family keep in touch with each other by giving bird-like chirps.
Otters enjoy sliding on their bellies down steep slopes of clay or ice. They also toss, dive for and play with rocks and clam shells in the water, probably as a social activity. They can dive to a depth of 55 feet and remain submerged for 3-4 minutes.
Before the young swim by themselves, the parents often carry them on their backs in the water.
Status: In recent years they have been exterminated in large sections of central and western United States and are generally rare where they do occur. Some still live along the Missouri River.