Yellowstone guide shares charming video of otter family playing on frozen lake

Three American river otters on icy lake
(Image credit: Getty)

A tour guide at Yellowstone National Park has shared a charming video of a family of river otters playing and wrestling together on a frozen lake.

Andrea Baratte of Yellowstone Adventure Tours is a wildlife enthusiast who often shares clips of the park's wildlife on his Instagram account, keeping track of their behavior throughout the changing seasons.

River otters grow to around 40-54 inches long as adults, and can weight between 10lb and 30lb. They can be spotted all year round, but as crepuscular animals, are most likely to be seen in the morning and evening. Baratte says he finds them easier to spot during the winter months.

As the National Park Service explains, river otters breed from late March through April, and will have one litter of two kits per year. The mother and kits will stay together until next breeding season, so it's quite common to see groups of three like this, though they may also join up with other family groups.

The otters are agile in water, but normally fairly slow-moving on land. They can move much faster on ice, which allows them to hop and slide along, insulated against the cold by their thick fur.

While some of Yellowstone's waterways freeze over during the winter, the park's geothermal activity means others stay ice-free, allowing otters and other animals to fish easily all year round.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.