River otters have specialized senses to deal with their environment, including good vision and sensitive whiskers as well as the ability to stay submerged in water for minutes at a time. When they aren't hunting, they like to play with each other.
One of the river otter's favorite pastimes is to frolic with other otters and do gymnastics, turning somersaults and sliding around. The otter uses sliding to maneuver easily from one place to another when out of the water. In the water, it can swim underwater for up to eight minutes at a time. Its body is also adapted to the water in many ways. For instance, its fur repels water, keeping the otter warm and dry. Both the nostrils and ears can close to keep out water.
The otter possesses keen eyesight to see underwater and find food. Its whiskers also help out, detecting vibrations and things that its eyes cannot see. When a school of fish passes by, the whiskers pick up the movement of the water, warning the otter that food is nearby. It can also track down prey using its nose and its speedy swimming skills. Despite its speed in the water, the river otter is vulnerable out of the water to coyotes, wolves, bears and other predators.