Otter Falls is home to two North American river otters (Lontra canadensis), one adult female, Jelly, and her son, Stark, born on February 16, 2013.
Jelly and Stark are highly active and curious North American river otters. They are tons of fun to watch! These playful creatures will chase each other, jump, wrestle, slide on their bellies on snow and ice, and spend lots of time grooming.
Occurring throughout North America, river otters can be found in rivers, lakes, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and estuaries. Unfortunately, they are rarely found on Long Island. They are predators, feeding on a variety of fish, amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Their activity is based on the time of the year, as they can be nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular.
Jelly and Stark’s exhibit, Otter Falls, is about 1,500 square feet with a nine foot waterfall that cascades into the otters’ pool. It emulates a temperate riverbank, complete with a 35 square foot interactive Beaver Den that provides guests with a three-foot underwater view into the pool and a viewing window into Jelly’s Day Den!
North American River Otter
Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis
Weight: 10-35 pounds.
Length: 3-5 feet.
Lifespan: 10-20 years.
Range: Throughout Canada and the United States.
Habitat: temperate freshwater river and lakes.
Not just fur looks! An otter has a soft, sleek, dense coat of hair that is waterproof and keeps them warm and dry while swimming. Unfortunately, this distinctive pelt is attractive to fur trappers and hunting has led to their decline in the wild.
Feets of distinction! The webbed toes on an otter are not only designed for swimming, but they also help otters maneuver quickly to catch their prey!
Take a deep breath! Otters are able to close their nostrils and ears underwater, enabling them to stay submerged for up to eight minutes!
Do you see what I see? Nearsighted on land, river otters use a clear eyelid called a nictitating membrane to protect their eyes and allow them to have perfect vision underwater..