The North American River Otter: An extensive essay in photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This post celebrates the North American River Otter. While somewhat misnamed (they are found on lakes, ponds, rivers, open ocean, in swamps, bogs, marshes, wetlands, and more. They are one of the more common mammals that I come across while on kayak photography outings in my local bays and estuaries. (Harbor seals are the most common.)

I have coma across them singly and in groups. Playing, eating, grooming. They are an active communal animal that is always a pleasure to come across and watch, but ideally at a distance where  don’t disturb them from their natural habits.

I hope you enjoy these images, and please, let me know which are your favorites, or which photos you would like me to write about or include in my anatomy of a photo series.

For more otter images, or for details on some of the pictures, you can visit my post about a trio of river otters or my description on how I photographed and filmed a river otter eating a large fish.



A family of otters. Notice the small young one in the middle?

Otter emerging from the water with a sculpin fish in its mouth

This is a still image I took while videoing this wild otter eating

Here is the video of this River Otter devouring a large fish. The sound cuts out part way through, so you only hear the crunchings of the fish for a while. It is the footage and the detail that are the most fun however.

An otter arching as it dives into the water

A somewhat demure otter

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
This entry was posted in kayak photography, marine life, nature photography, otters, photography, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The North American River Otter: An extensive essay in photos

  1. burgundy says:

    Me and my childern very much enjoyed your pictures and information. We went looking online for info. after seeing “Mr. Otter”in the Van Duzen river, it’s in the Six River National Forest just north of Fortuna California. thank you so much.

    • Your very welcome. I am very happy that you and your children enjoyed my photographs of the otters. They are marvelous animals, and a joy to watch. I’ve never been to the Six Rivers, but it is on my list, especially now that I know there are otters there. Thank you.

  2. radha latona says:

    I love your pictures, we dont have in my country (Dominican Republic) is beautiful, nice job…

  3. Bananas says:

    Beautiful pictures! I love the otters, they always seem so happy and content. :)

  4. mary sonis says:

    These are beautiful images..just stunning. I have only observed River otters in the wild once. I was tubing in upstate NY (US) and the River otters were climbing onto rocks and playing in and out of the water. I have had no luck when I try to observe them from land. I have also noted that our Bald eagles are not particularly disturbed if I am in a kayak…but they are very skittish when I am on shore. I don’t know pecisely why the kayak is accepted..but i am sure glad that you chose to take your kayak out on that particular day! Thank you for sharing these top-notch shots.

Leave a Reply to radha latona Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s