They occur along the Coast of Vancouver Island, often frequenting bays and estuaries and coastal marshes. The closest area where they are regularly found is Pedder Bay. There, we frequently see them on the college docks and on the southern shoreline. . Along streams and rivers in most of midwest and southwest USA (except Hawaii) they are common. Their population and density however varies with location. They can become a pest when they move onshore under buildings near the water.Their dead food and droppings create a disagreeable odor.They also can be viscious when cornered by humans or dogs.
The river otter usually feeds on quite a variety of organisms, fish (herring mostly), seagulls (baby ones and eggs), crabs and shrimp. At Race Rocks they revert to birds and their eggs when the supply of herring is low. In July,1998 they wiped out the nests of black oyster catchers. They were also a threat to guillemot nests and were seen digging away rocks to get to the nests. Whether the pigeon guillemot escaped or not is not known. Glaucous winged gull chicks are also victims. Man made habitat such as space under walkways and under buildings were removed in 2000 resulting in fewer occurances of them on the islands.
|This photo was taken in February, 2008
on the remote camera 5 by PB. The otter is seen coming out of the rock pile and moving over to the water. Below is a series of images taken by PB on February 29, 2008.
River otters usually mature at 2 years of age. Females usually pregnate in and after three years. Males breed at around 5 years. See the slide show above. They have litters of 1-6 with the usual amount being two or three children (kits)per mother. Female river otters have the ability to delay implantation. The young usually stay a year in the womb with a 60 day gestation period. They are quite helpless at birth and are blind. They open their eyes at around 3 weeks. The kits can take care of themselves at 5 or 6 months. However the family usually sticks together for an extra 2 months or until another litter is born.
The river otter breeds in March-April and give birth in late winter/early spring.