5 Curious Facts About River Otters in Delaware
Yes! We have otters in Delaware! The North American River Otter can be found in fresh and brackish water all over the state. They are pretty stealthy, so we don’t always notice them, but they are making their way around a surprisingly large area of our state. Here are some fun facts that you may not know:
- River Otters are really good at hunting– I mean, really good! Their eyes are small, but specialized at viewing prey in the dark and in murky water. River Otters have long, sensitive whiskers that detect vibrations under water and they have a super sense of smell. They can smell fish even before they can see them.
- They are fantastic underwater athletes. River Otters can hold their breath under water for up to 8 minutes. They even have the ability to close off their ears and nostrils so that no water gets in. They have strong, muscular bodies that make them excellent swimmers.
- River Otters are even faster on land. Believe it or not, they can run even faster (up to 18mph) than they swim. River Otters spend about two-thirds of their lives on land and travel up to 50 miles (sometimes more!) visiting a variety of rivers and ponds in search of food.
- River Otters have an incredibly speedy metabolism. Meals make their way through their digestive tract in about an hour (compared to up to 8 hours for humans). That means they are almost always on the hunt for their next meal.
- River Otters love to play!Sometimes they play just to have fun – if you’re lucky, you can see them somersaulting, wrestling, sliding and flipflopping along the riverbanks. They also use play for more serious endeavors – like socialization, to practice hunting and to learn new skills.
At Sun Otter Tours, we love to use play to learn new things too. Visit us at www.SunOtter.com to check out our science-based learning adventures or visit our Facebook page designed for the naturally curious!