Work your way through the beautiful slot canyons of Southern Utah in the Discover Utah gallery. The familiar scenery is filled with native Utah wildlife including our playful North American river otters. 

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Range: North American river otters are found in and around waterways and coasts throughout most of Canada and the United States.

Habitat: River otters can adapt to a variety of environments, including lakes, rivers, marshes, and even swamps. They have a small home range, and generally do not wander further than 100 meters from water.

Size: River otters can weigh between 11 to 30 pounds, with the males being generally larger than the females. They can grow to be about four feet long with their tail making up almost a third of its total body length.

Diet: Because of their high metabolism, River otters eat a great deal of food. Their diet consists of insects, frogs, snakes, lizards, smaller mammals, and even small water birds.

Conservation Connection: The North American river otter used to thrive almost everywhere in North America. Today, due to unregulated trapping, pollution, and habitat destruction, they occupy only a fraction of their original range.

Did You Know? River otters can see underwater due to a third clear eyelid that helps protect their eye as they swim.


Range: The Wood duck can be found all over the East Coast, from Nova Scotia to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico into the center of the United States.

Habitat: Wood ducks tend to live in vegetated wetland areas such as creeks, marshes, ponds, and rivers.

Size: The average Wood duck is anywhere from 18 to 21 inches long and weighs one to 1.8 pounds.

Diet: Wood ducks have a diet that is made up of a large variety of items such as insects, fruits, and seeds.

Conservation Connection: The biggest threat to Wood ducks is hunting, although today their population is thriving.

Did You Know?  If aquatic food is scarce, Wood ducks will take to forests and farm fields to eat acorns, grains, berries, and other nuts and seeds.


Range: The Desert tortoise can be found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

Habitat: They can be found in semi-arid grasslands, desert washes, and sandy canyons below 3500 feet.

Size: The Desert tortoise can reach a height of four to six inches and a length of nine to 15 inches. They weigh between eight and 15 pounds.

Diet: As herbivores, their diet is mostly made up of herbs and grasses, shrubs, and cactus flowers.

Conservation Connection: The biggest threat to the Desert tortoise is habitat destruction. They are considered a vulnerable species due to their recent rapid population decline.

Did You Know?  The Desert tortoise can spend up to 95 percent of its life underground to escape cold in winter and heat in summer.

Cutthroat Trout

Range: The Bonneville cutthroat trout was historically found in the Bonneville Basin. It’s now found in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.

Habitat: They live in clear, cool, well-oxygenated water with naturally fluctuating flows.

Size: They can grow up to 18 pounds and 24 inches.

Diet: The diet of the Bonneville cutthroat trout consists of other fishes, crustaceans, and insects. As opportunistic feeders, they will feed on almost anything in their environment.

Conservation Connection: These fish are threatened by water diversions, habitat damage, and livestock harvest.

Did You Know? The Bonneville cutthroat trout is the state fish of Utah.