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river otter critterLatin Name: Lontra canadensisSize: 2.5 to 5 feet longTexas Habitat: The eastern half, with occasional sightings elsewhereFreelance photographer Kellye Mixon Bussey was birdwatching on Galveston’s East Beach last fall when a flash of fur caught her eye. A North American river otter, with a brown button nose, grandfatherly whiskers, and webbed feet, was scampering on the sand. When Bussey shared her pictures online, some commenters expressed surprise that these creatures live in Texas, let alone on the Gulf Coast. It’s a sentiment that seems to pop up every time an otter does, but the semiaquatic mammals thrive in many of the lakes, ponds, rivers, and salt marshes in the state’s eastern half. They’re just skittish around humans. Where do they live?Adaptable and resilient, river otters range…

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