While here in Iowa we're known to have more hogs than humans, the Hawkeye State is home to many unique animals. And no, not just critters that are commonly known for their meat.

The animal that pops up in Iowa without many people being aware of its existence is the ever-elusive (and kinda cute) river otter.

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A recent article from Benji Jones of the pop culture website Vox highlights the little buggers, who he even spotted himself at beautiful George Wyth State Park in Black Hawk County.

River Otter - Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash
A river otter (not photographed in Iowa) - Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash
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River otters are cute, fun, and mischievous little animal that actually thrives in the state of Iowa. The DNR even did a whole story on the North American river otter on its website.

At one time in Iowa's history, the river otter was essentially extinct in the state of Iowa. This was largely thanks to fur trapping and severe habitat loss according to the Vox article.

Then efforts started in 1985 to bring the river otter back to Iowa. Since then, the DNR says the population locally has been growing steadily and have even been seen in all 99 of the state's counties.

River otter - Photo by Andreas Schantl on Unsplash
River otter - Photo by Andreas Schantl on Unsplash
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At one time the river otter was hunted for their pelts as otter was considered very trendy and otter pelts were used in everything from coats to hats and belts.

Have you ever spotted a river otter on your explorations in the state of Iowa? I personally have not, despite living right by George Wyth. But now I certainly hope to!

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