Appearance: From their webbed feet to their rudder-like tails and extra eyelids that act as goggles, river otters are well-adapted for a life in the water. Typical adults have long, muscular bodies measuring three to four feet long; about a third of that length is their tails.
Range: River otters can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats including streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes. Their dens are often dug into the bank of a stream, or they may utilize an old beaver lodge, muskrat house, or even a hollow tree. While they have few natural predators, trapping, habitat destruction, and water quality remain their largest threat. Otters were brought back from the brink of extinction in the state of North Carolina. Reintroduction programs and improvement of water quality has led to this success.
Diet: River otters love to eat fish and crayfish and can also eat mollusks, crabs, amphibians, rodents, birds, eggs, and reptiles.
Olive was wild born in February 2004 and came to the WNC Nature Center in May 2004. A family found Olive as a pup near their home in South Carolina. It is uncertain what happened to her mother, but she was alone. During her time with this family, Olive imprinted on humans, which means she trusts humans and never learned the skills she would need to survive in the wild.
Throughout Olive’s life at the WNC Nature Center, she has had several male roommates, and each time she has been the queen of the castle!
Obi Wan was born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Pennsylvania in March 2009. They donated him to the WNC Nature Center in January 2010. Since Obi Wan was born at a zoo, he never learned survival skills and is not afraid of humans.
Obi Wan’s name was chosen through a contest at the WNC Nature Center in 2010. Even though Obi is younger than Olive, he is bigger than she is. Besides size, another way to tell him apart from Olive is by his light blonde chin and chest.