"They are found all over the state of Minnesota anywhere near lakes rivers or streams. They're all over the U.S. and they do live by water so if they have streams or rivers, which Minnesota has plenty of, we have a lot of otters as well," said Karlin Ziegler from Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo, "They're very interesting animals, a very unique type of animal, they have a lot of adaptations to live in the water, such as their main defense against the water and the cold, people go 'How on earth can they be a water animal and live in Minnesota when it freezes over?' They have a lot of features for that and one is their fur, they actually have a double layer of fur. They have an undercoat that is actually very dense fur and then they have an upper layer of hair which has a very oily coat to it so it actually slicks down and makes a complete waterproof barrier when they're in the water. So actually that freezing cold water in the winter never actually touches their skin."There are many interested adaptations that otters use to survive and thrive in their environment.
"Some other features that help them live in the water would be other waterproofing things such as their nose and ears which both have the capability of closing off when they're in the water so they don't get any water in those areas and their eyes have an nictitating membrane that goes over their eyes it's like a clear eyelid for them to be able to help see better underwater without getting things like debris into their eyes - that's another fun fact about how they live in the water, they also have webbed feet of course and claws for digging in the mud and things like that," said Ziegler.Otters in the Minnesota area have had trouble with pollution destroying their habitats and decreasing their numbers, but Ziegler said that otter numbers have been on the rise again recently.