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River Otter
Tracks and Signs

Lontra canadensis 

Click here for the River Otter Photo Gallery and small videos
Main River Otter Tracks and Signs page
River Otter Scats Page 1
River Otter Scats Page 2

River Otter Tracking Video (14-minute-long live tracking experience)
See otter tracks and signs in the field on this video!

This is the left front track of a river otter. The long heel left an imprint here, which does not always happen. Notice also the lack of claw marks. Sometimes, the claws do not show in tracks. There are four pads on the "heel" which are visible in this photo. The inner toe is the smallest and is set further back in the track.


This interesting photo shows where an otter stepped on top of a bobcat track. The otter's large left hind foot landed on a left front bobcat track. The webbing on the otter track left a clear imprint here.

The bobcat track in the photo above can be seen in this photo, along with four otter tracks.

On the left are the tracks of an otter. On the right are the tracks of its cousin, the mink. The foot structure is similar for both species, but size is very different. These two animals share similar habitat and prey as well.


A group of tree otters left their tracks in this wet sand. A mink also left its tracks, seen on the left side of the photo. Direction of travel for all tracks is from the bottom to top of the photo.

Another nice river otter footprint in wet sand.

An otter came out of the water and rolled in the sand here. Notice the wet areas of sand and the tracks made by the otter's dragging tail. This area is a frequently-used latrine site, visited by multiple otters.


An older otter track in sand. You can tell this track has aged because of the debris that has blown into it. Also, the edges are not as crisp as in a newer track. The soil color inside and outside the track is the same as well.


A nearly perfect example of the left front track of a river otter. You can see the claw marks on most of the toes. The webbing is easily visible in this print. The "heel" pad shows up and the different pads that make it up are delineated nicely. The small, inner toe is seen on the left side of the track.


A nice example of a complete right hind river otter track. This track shows all five toes, and the claw marks are evident. The smaller, inner toe is visible on the left side of the track. If you look closely, you can see indications of the webbing on each toe. The four pads on the "heel" are also visible in this perfect footprint. This is the kind of track that trackers love to find!

A pair of older otter tracks in sand near a river.

Two otter trails follow the river's edge. Otters frequently come out of the water and run along the river banks like this pair did.

A very nice set of otter tracks in fine mud.

This scat was found on a raised area above the water level, a common placement location for otter scats.



Learn More about River Otter Tracks and Signs on these pages of this site:

NEW: Watch an otter eat a fish from four feet away in this exciting video clip!
Click here for the River Otter Photo Gallery and small videos
See main River Otter Tracks and Signs  page here
Learn to identify River Otter Scats Page 1
Learn to identify River Otter Scats Page 2



Find otter posters, greeting cards, t-shirts, hats, and more in my new store.

Now available: "Animals Don't Cover Their Tracks - An Introduction to Animal Tracking" on CD! (Version 3.0) New drawings, more species, more photos, more extensive sections on tracking humans, more detailed directions for plaster casting, mystery tracks section, tracking stories section, and more. The CD features over 100 species, including special bonus sections with the tracks of some African and Australian animals. A large section on tracking lost people for search and rescue is included, with over four pages of photos showing the details of tracks and signs people leave. Easy to use format. This web site is limited by bandwidth, but the CD-ROM is not. The CD is available in my online store at: www.dirt-time.com  Works with Mac or PC. Happy tracking!!

What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's animal tracks coloring book, T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!


Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*


Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.

Get Every Child Outdoors (Get E.C.O.) - My shop dedicated to nature and getting kids interested in nature and the outdoors.

Sales from all stores give commissions to Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, which helps keep this site online as a free service. We are celebrating ten years online this year!



Looking for a Gift? This site lets you customize a gift card with your own photo. Commissions earned when you buy from this link help keep Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den online! Thank you!

 Gift Card Lab - Create Photo Gift Cards





Got a river otter story? E-mail me and tell me about it.


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Copyright 1997, 2009, 2011. Text, drawings, and photos by Kim A. Cabrera


Page updated: Sunday, November 6, 2011.

Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design