Otters are fun creatures to watch and they are highly intelligent. Most of us don’t know much about them so here are some facts to help you educate yourself about them. It can be fun to test out your knowledge as you go.
Otters consume mainly fish but many people think that they eat plants and berries. They are definitely meat eaters.
Male Otters are called boars, females are sows, and the offspring are pups.
The Sea Otter is the only species that have a shorter and less muscular tail. The others use it as a powerful weapon and to navigate their movements in the water.
Otters spend the majority of their time on land but many people assume that they spend it in the water. The exception is the Sea Otter which does spend almost all of its time in the water.
There are 13 different species of Otters found in the world. There is evidence that they have been around for more than 5 million years.
Antarctica and Australia are the only two places in the world where they aren’t found. While they tend to live in the cooler waters, they have been known to reside where the water is warmer and the land is sandy.
Otters are very closely related to badgers, ferrets and mink. They aren’t related to the beaver but they are often mistaken for them. They are also distant cousins of the skunk.
European Otter – Lutra lutraDescriptionThe European Otter is one what has a distinct look to it. While it does have the brownish color of coat, it also features white along the length of it. The white is also there under the face and down to the belly. You will notice that these white markings are different on each of them. This is one way to easily identify them in the wild or in captivity.
DistributionThe European Otter tends to live in bodies of freshwater. As you can guess from the name they are primarily found in Europe. They are also found all along Asia and Africa. In the past it was also located in Switzerland and the Netherlands but they have been wiped out from those locations long ago.
They live in lakes, streams, and rivers but tend to find the water that is clean as they don’t do well with pollution. It is believed that they have a distribution that is wider than any other species.
They are said to be the most territorial of all the species of Otters in the world. Their area that they protect can be up to 25 miles wide. However, most of them observed have a territory of about 11 miles. Males and females are able to cross the paths of boundaries without incident. However, aggressive behavior will occur when the same sex tries to cross into it.
They spend their day in the den staying nice and cool. At night they come out with the desire to feed. They can spend several hours each night searching for food and consuming it. You may not see the Otters move from the land to the water though because they tend to make underground tunnels for this to take place. They are also known to change the location of their den on a regular basis
Fish make up the majority of the diet for the European Otter. They also consume a wide variety of other items including birds, frogs, crustaceans, and even small beavers that happen to be in the area. They take the opportunity to consume whatever they can find both on land and in the water though.
ReproductionThere isn’t a set mating season for this particular type of Otter. Therefore they are free to engage in it when they feel like it. Males are ready to mate first at about 2 years of age. For the females it is about 3 years of age.
Mating always occurs in the water so we don’t know very much about it. The offspring are born about 61 days after mating takes place. From one to four pups may be born which is different from most of the species that only have one at a time.
The pups will feed from the milk their mother provides for the first year of life.