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15 fascinating facts about otters

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on Jan. 21, 2020, 2:18 p.m.
A river otter with mouth agape.

Photo: Mark Medcalf/Shutterstock

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Did you just call me a sea otter?

It's really common to watch someone point at a river otter and say, "Look at the sea otter!" especially when that river otter is anywhere near the coast. It happened a lot to Sutro Sam, a famous San Francsico river otter that lived in a fresh water pond directly next to the ocean's crashing waves. However, river otters and sea otters are different creatures. River otters live primarily in fresh water, though they can also swim and hunt in sea water, and sea otters live exclusively in the ocean along on the coastline. Sea otters are also WAY bigger than most species of river otter, and are the heaviest of all otter species. So size and location are easy give-aways for telling these two commonly confused species apart.