River Otters

Introducing our playful, always-entertaining river otters, Molalla and Ahanu!

These fun-loving, raucous boys spend a great deal of time on land exploring, searching for food, clowning around and generally having a great timemuch to the delight of our visitors.

Molalla, a river otter at the Seattle Aquarium, with his head above a pool of water in the river otter habitat.

Molalla, or Mo for short, was born at the Oregon Zoo in 2013 and named for a river in Oregon. 

Ahanu, a river otter at the Seattle Aquarium, lifting his head and looking towards the camera.

Ahanu was born at the Oakland Zoo in 2011. His name means “he laughs” in the Algonquian language.

Living large

In the wild, river otters make their homes in a variety of habitats, near both marine and fresh water. In coastal waters, they can be found traveling and foraging in estuaries, marshes and the lower parts of streams. Inland, they’re found in lowland marshes and swamps, streams and small lakes. River otters live in dens, which they can make themselves in shrubbery or along riverbanksand they are also happy to take up residence in abandoned beaver, badger, fox or rabbit dwellings.

Keeping it clean

Like many land mammals, river otters use their fur coats to keep warm. River otters need to groom their fur frequently to maintain its water resistance and insulating properties. When you come to the Seattle Aquarium, you may be lucky enough to see Molalla “squeegee-ing” the water from his fur against one of the exhibit’s hard surfaces.

Who’s who? Sea otters vs. river otters

Other Mammals