Thursday, May 04, 2017 written by Macy Gibbons and photographed by Mika Miller

North American river otters are some of the most popular members of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium family. The energy and excitement from these furry friends are sure to draw in a crowd.

In the wild, the North American river otter can be found throughout Canada and the US except for Southern California, New Mexico, and Texas. They live in a variety of habitats, from lakes and rivers to swamps and marshes. They are never more than 100 meters from water.

North American river otters are semi-aquatic, so their body has special characteristics that allow them to swim underwater more efficiently. Some of which are a streamlined body, small nostrils and ears that can close up when underwater, and short legs with partially webbed feet.

Every square inch of a North American river otter has about 387,000 hairs on it. This is because there are two types of fur that can be found on a North American river otter. The stronger and longer hairs, called guard hairs, create a waterproof barrier that protect the finer, denser underfur.

When you visit Loveland Living Planet Aquarium you may notice the North American river otters like to spend a lot of time in the water. These playful creatures can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes underwater, which means plenty of swimming time.

Stop by the Discover Utah Gallery during your next visit to the Aquarium to check out some of our most playful family members!

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