I don’t know about you, but otters are definitely a firm favourite of mine whenever I have seen them at a zoo. Unfortunately, I haven’t been lucky enough to ever see them in the wild – but this is something I would absolutely love to do. Whenever I watch them at a zoo, I really admire the way they interact with each other and also the way they seem to have so much fun! Give them a little stone to play with, and they are entertained for hours!
I think otters are fascinating little creatures, and I know that a lot of other people really love them to. Here’s 6 fascinating facts about otters…
1 – There are 13 different species of otter on the planet
These are: Eurasian otters, smooth-coated otters, Asian small-clawed otters, hairy-nosed otters, sea otters, North American river otters, Neotropical otters, Giant otters, Southern river otters, marine otters, African clawless otters, Congo clawless otters and spotted-necked otters.
2 – Otters can live in a huge range of different habitats
Each species of otter has evolved to be able to survive very unique habitats and temperatures. This ranges from the shallow waters of the North Pacific ocean (the sea otter) to the tropical jungle of the Amazon rainforest (the giant otter).
3 – Otters are very hungry animals!
Sea otters especially, can consume up to 11kg of food each day – around a quarter of an adult otter’s body weight! They have a very high metabolism and this must be fuelled by such large amounts of food.
4 – Otters have strong tooth enamel
An otter’s diet mainly consists of hard shellfish and crustaceans such as; crabs, sea urchins, mussels and clams. To stop them from breaking their teeth whilst trying to open these, they have evolved to have extremely hard tooth enamel.
5 – Otters form attachments with their stones
How many times have you seen an otter with a stone? This is because they actually form an attachment to them. They often use stones to crack open their food and because of this, they will carry that stone around with them for days on end. They either juggle it, or keep it in their armpit when not in use.
6 – Otters have the thickest fur of all mammals
Unlike most marine mammals, otters don’t have a layer of blubber to keep them warm. Instead, they have an extremely thick layer of fur which helps to keep them waterproof.