The River Otter

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The river otter is a streamlined, beautiful animal, having a thick, warm fur coat. Its thick, flexible body is 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 ft. long, including its tail. Its webbed feet make it an excellent swimmer that can swim underwater for a quarter mile without coming up for air. It lives throughout Canada, Alaska and the lower forty-eight states.
This is one animal that seems to have been given the ability to really enjoy life. It loves to play all kinds of games with other otters, even wrestling and playing hide-and-seek. Just about any loose item it comes across becomes a plaything. It is famous for sliding down muddy slopes or icy hills into the water. Both young and old alike spend hours tobogganing in this manner. They seem to enjoy the sensation and the cool bath at the end of the slide. On snow they sometimes make a quick run, then fold their legs under them for a fast slide on their smooth stomachs.
Their homes are usually burrows dug in the bank of a stream or river. Sometimes they will use an abandoned burrow of some other animal. One to five pups are born between February and April. Water is the otter's natural home, but even so, the pups have to be taught to swim. They soon become very fast, skillful swimmers and easily dive for fish. They also eat crawfish, frogs, snails, insects and sometimes a snake.
Coyotes, foxes and badgers are its enemies, but the river otter is so fast on its feet that it can only be caught when taken by surprise. If a fight results, it usually gets the best of its enemy because the Creator has provided it with very sharp teeth and claws.
The habits of the river otter are certainly amusing as we observe its way of life. Wouldn't it be wonderful if humans could live together in such a happy way? Sadly, the human race seldom does because of the evil nature that lives within us. Satan takes advantage of it in every possible way. Scripture refers to us as "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and [are] by nature the children of wrath" (Eph. 2:33Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:3)).
But there is One who can change our hearts: "Our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a [special] people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:13-1413Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:13‑14)).
When we know this One as our Savior, we receive a new nature and can say, "Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy....Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee" (Psa. 5:1111But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. (Psalm 5:11)).