Rarely seen Texas otter may be making a comeback

February 12, 2010 9:08:38 AM PST
River otters are popping up in Texas waterways where they haven't been seen in decades, giving wildlife officials hope that the rarely seen critter is making a comeback. The wider range was announced this week by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The animals were believed to have been restricted to the Piney Woods of east Texas because of habitat loss and trapping for its thick brown fur, in high demand as recently as the 1970s.

But this year people have spotted river otters outside Austin and as far away as Wichita Falls, near the Oklahoma border.

The river otter, a famously playful animal and member of the weasel family, is a slim carnivore with webbed feet and is typically about 2 feet long. The otter is not endangered, but Texas considers it a "species of concern."


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