If you want to learn more about the North American river otter — or test how much you already know — you otter take this quiz. Answers are below.

1. The river otter is one of 13 otter species found around the world. They are found on all but two continents. Which two?

2. Which two of these are names for young otters?
A. Cub
B. Kitten
C. Pup
D. Ottling

3. North American river otters often come within a few feet of a human on land or a boat when they are swimming with their head above the water. Why is this?
A. They are one of the most curious mammals known.
B. Their eyes are adapted for sight underwater, making them near-sighted above the water.
C. They are notorious for begging for food, especially fish.
D. They are extremely social animals and associate with a variety of other animals.

4. River otters are in the Mustelidae family, which except for the sea otter, have anal scent glands that produce a strong secretion used to attract mates and mark territory. Which one of these is not a member of this animal family: 
A. Badger
B. Beaver
C. Fisher
D. Wolverine

5. Otters are active year-round, and are able to withstand winter’s cold temperatures because of their dense fur. What is the estimated density per square inch of an otter’s pelt?
A. 460,000 hairs
B. 360,000 hairs
C. 260,000 hairs
D. 160,000 hairs

6. On average, how long can an otter hold its breath underwater?
A. 4–6 minutes
B. 6–8 minutes
C. 8–10 minutes
D. 10–12 minutes

7. Which is larger? A male or a female otter?

8. As a rule, is a river otter faster on land or in the water?

9. The scent of otter poop has been described as relatively pleasant for animal scat. Each otter has its own unique aroma that helps other otters identify which individual left the pile. Otter scat has its own special name. What is it?
A. Perfoop
B. Scootch
C. Spraint
D. Tottle

10. One of the otter’s lungs has twice as many lobes as the other. This adaptation is thought to help the animal swim underwater. Which lung has four lobes? Which lung has two lobes?

11. Instead of creating its own home, a river otter may decide to move into the abandoned den or lair of an other animal, or even take it over. These animals include muskrats, beavers, foxes, badgers and rabbits. It might even move in with one of these animals, with each species living in an area not being used by the other. Which animal is it?
A. Beaver
B. Fox
C. Muskrat
D. Rabbit


1. Antarctica & Australia   
2. B & C
3. B
4. A  
5. D
6. A
7. An average adult male weighs around 25 pounds, an average female weighs around 18 pounds   
8. River otters can run up to 18 mph and swim 12 mph   
9. C
10. Right/4 Left/2
11. A