Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

January 1994


River otters (Lutra canadensis) are best known for their continuous and playful behavior, their aesthetic value, and the value of their durable, high-quality fur. River otters occur throughout North America except the arctic slopes, the arid portions of the Southwest, and the intensive agricultural and industrialized areas of the midwestern United States. The diet of the river otter throughout its range is primarily fish. The reproductive biology of river otters and all other weasels is complex because of a characteristic known as delayed implantation. The presence of river otter(s) around or in a fish hatchery, aquaculture, or fish culture facility is a good indication that a damage problem is imminent. The river otter is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).