Species: North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis)

Sex: Male

Diet: Capelin, Lake Smelt, and Feline Diet

Arrival Date: 11/19/2012

Estimated Age Upon Arrival: 7-9 Months

Walle’s Tale:

Walle was raised with a caretaker on a boat from the time he was a pup to juvenile status. As a juvenile, it was recognized that Walle’s care was far more intense than a regular household pet would require. It was assumed that if Walle was put back out into the wild, he would resume life as a normal otter. This was not the case with Walle. The FWC called CMA about Walle, asking if he could live out his life with our other otters under the care of our training team. He has successfully acclimated to his new environment. Our training team has been able to hand feed, touch and interact in the exhibit with Walle on a daily basis.

River otters are often times mistaken for sea otters, but why? River otters do live in and around both fresh and salt water, however there are easy ways to identify the two species apart. First, river otters are commonly seen moving in and out of the water and are able to easily move around on land, versus sea otters that spend almost their entire life in water and are clumsy on land. Second, when in the water river otters commonly swim belly down, versus sea otters who swim belly up. Third, river otters are much smaller than their cousin the sea otter. Lastly, the paws of river otters and sea otters are webbed but the paws of a river otter are more circular shaped to aid in land locomotion versus seas otters that have webbing all the way to the toes to aid in water locomotion.