With trapping season approaching, one of the animals that may come to mind is the river otter. The river otter was almost extirpated from the state of Iowa due to unregulated trapping and habitat loss. Reintroduction efforts began in 1985 at Red Rock Reservoir. A total of 345 otters were released between 1985 and 2005. Reintroduction, along with wetland restoration and conservation, has allowed for the growth and distribution of the otter population in our state.
Otters are a lovable creature and a great source of entertainment. Otters are a playful animal, starting as pups when their mother pushes them out of their den in order to teach them to swim. Pups are born in an underground den, usually one abandoned by a beaver or badger.
As otters mature, they will take part in playing on their own homemade slip-and-slide. Running up the hill of a river bank and sliding down into the water, you can see them pop back out and chirrup at each other.
With their desired pelts and playful personality, Iowans can be thankful for the efforts to make sure river otters are no longer threatened in our state.