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Otter (Lutra Canadensis)Sea Otter in Seattle Washington AreaA Northern River Otter at the Buffalo Zoo.A pair of ottersTwo Oriental Small-Clawed Otters
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Otter Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Lutra Canadensis
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
76-91cm (30-36in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
5-15kg (10-30lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
11km/h (7mph)
How long the animal lives for
15-25 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Brown, Tan, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
River banks, lakes and streams
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fish, Crabs, Frogs
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Birds, Fox, Wolves
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Long streamline body and broad, flat tail

Otter Location

Map of Otter Locations


The otter is a small mammal that lives both in water and on land. There are 13 known species of otter that inhabit areas all around the world.

The otter mainly eats aquatic animals such as plankton and fish, but the otter also hunts small amphibians, birds and occasionally small mammals.

The sea otters from North America have been tracked journeying as far as southern Japan. The sea otter has also been known to grow to more than 1 metre long.

Otters have a thick coat of fur which enables the otter to be warm in near-freezing waters. There is also a series of thin hairs under the otter's fur that help to trap air and keep the otter warm.

The female otter tends to give birth to a few cubs in early spring in burrows in the river bank, where the baby otters are looked after until they are between 4 and 10 months old and ready to fend for themselves.

Otter Foot Facts

  • The otter has four strong feet that are webbed to allow the otter to swim through the water with ease.
  • The otter has five toes on each of their four feet that give the otter the strength to swim in the water on the stability when climbing up muddy river banks.
  • On each of the toes of the otter, there are sharp strong claws which add to the strength and performance of their feet both in water and on land.
  • The back feet of the otter are generally slightly bigger and more flipper-like than the front feet of the otter which helps to propel the otter along in the water.
  • The otter makes the most of its front and back feet by moving its front feet together and its back feet together which enables the otter to swim smoothly and quickly through the water.

Otter Teeth Facts

  • The otter is a fantastic fisher and is able to catch nearly all of its food in its sharp teeth at the front of the mouth of the otter.
  • An adult otter has 32 teeth including four sharp canine teeth that are found at the front of the mouth of an otter and are used for holding onto and biting their prey.
  • The molar teeth in the mouth of the otter are flat on top and slightly rounded as they are designed to crush the food of the otter rather than to chew it.
  • The teeth of the otter are built to eat animals with shells such as crabs and snails so the teeth of the otter are wide and flat.
  • Some species of otter such as the otter, do in fact have purple teeth rather than white teeth which is caused by these otters eating purple coloured sea urchins.

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First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 21st January 2020

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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]