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Otter

Otter Facts

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyMustelidae
GenusLutra
Scientific NameLutra Canadensis
TypeMammal
DietCarnivore
Size76-91cm (30-36in)
Weight5-15kg (10-30lbs)
Top Speed11km/h (7mph)
Life Span15-25 years
LifestyleSolitary
Conservation StatusThreatened
ColourBrown, Tan, White
Skin TypeFur
Favourite FoodFish
HabitatRiver banks, lakes and streams
Average Litter Size3
Main PreyFish, Crabs, Frogs
PredatorsBirds, Fox, Wolves
Special FeaturesLong streamline body and broad, flat tail

Otter Location

Map of Otter Locations

Otter

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 otter 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 meter 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 otters 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.