In celebration of World Otter Day on May 29, we wanted to introduce you to our resident North American river otter, Nestle. Plus, enjoy these photos of her showing off for the camera!
Thanks to volunteer photographer Michael Cameron for these great spring shots of Nestle!
Nestle is a movie star, retired from the silver screen, she arrived at Wildlife Images in 2011 when she was four years old. Her last movie was Evan Almighty, in which she was filmed doing several behaviors later duplicated on screen to make several shots of otters in the film. She can be seen doing one of four things eating delicious salmon, playing in her pool/sprinkler, napping or showing off for the guests. She is a diva through and through and enjoys her personal space which is why she gets to enjoy Critter Creek all to herself.
River otters are able to stay under water for up to eight minutes, using their specially adapted ears and nose which they can close to keep water out while they’re submerged. They are social, commonly living in family groups made up of an adult female and her pups. Female river otters give birth in the spring. Babies are born blind and stay in the den until they’re about one month old. Their mother coaxes them into the water where they learn to swim. Adult males are often solitary but sometimes live in small groups together. River otters live in burrows along riverbanks, usually taking over abandoned dens made by other animals such as beavers.
YOU OTTER KNOW…
- North American river otters are playful and inquisitive members of the weasel family!
- They are often seen playing on riverbanks, romping down muddy slides, and playing with toys like sticks and rocks.
- They are known for being nature’s goofballs.
- Strong tails and webbed toes make them fast and feisty swimmers that prey on fish, frogs, and arthropods.
- Otters have an incredible sense of smell and can even smell fish upstream!
- Otters have warm and water resistant fur which is why they were historically hunted to the point of decline in the wild.
Today their biggest threat is habitat destruction and degradation. Learn more below and take the QUICK QUIZ to test your knowledge!
- What is a Riparian Zone?
- Name three things that can hurt wildlife if we pour them down the drain…
- What sense do scientists believe salmon use to find the same stream they were born in?
- What two features allow herons and cranes to survive successfully in marshes and wetlands?
- What does the word “amphibian” mean?