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Along the Manayunk Canal

River Otter at Fairmount Dam Fish Ladder

On March 20, 2005 at 9:20 PM, a rare glimpse of a rare aquatic species for our area.  A North American River Otter (Lutra canadensis) was spotted enjoying a night swim through the Fish Ladder at Fairmount Dam!

Otters are apex predators, meaning they occupy the highest niche on the food chain. Although otters will eat almost anything from insects to snake eggs, their favorite food is fish: minnows, sunfish, suckers, carp and trout.
 
The otter's size, roughly three feet, four inches from nose to tail, suggests it might be old enough to breed. River otters reach sexual maturity at two years; pups - usually two or three to a litter, are born between February and April.