Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.
|Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)|
The word otter derives from the Old English word otor or oter. This, and cognate words in other Indo-European languages, ultimately stem from the Proto-Indo-European language root *wódr̥, which also gave rise to the English word "water".
An otter's den is called a holt or couch. Male otters are called dogs or boars, females are called bitches or sows, and their offspring are called pups. The collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge, romp (being descriptive of their often playful nature) or, when in water, raft.
The gestation period in otters is about 60 to 86 days. The newborn pup is cared for by the bitch, dog and older offspring. Bitch otters reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age and males at approximately three years. The holt is built under tree roots or a rocky cairn, more common in Scotland. It is lined with moss and grass.
After one month, the pup can leave the holt and after two months, it is able to swim. The pup lives with its family for approximately one year. Otters live up to 16 years; they are by nature playful, and frolic in the water with their pups. Its usual source of food is fish, and further downriver, eels, but it may sample frogs and birds.
Otters have long, slim bodies and relatively short limbs. Their most striking anatomical features are the powerful webbed feet used to swim, and their seal-like abilities holding breath underwater. Most have sharp claws on their feet and all except the sea otter have long, muscular tails. The 13 species range in adult size from 0.6 to 1.8 m (2.0 to 5.9 ft) in length and 1 to 45 kg (2.2 to 99.2 lb) in weight. The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species and the giant otter and sea otter are the largest. They have very soft, insulated underfur, which is protected by an outer layer of long guard hairs. This traps a layer of air which keeps them dry, warm, and somewhat buoyant under water.
Several otter species live in cold waters and have high metabolic rates to help keep them warm. European otters must eat 15% of their body weight each day, and sea otters 20 to 25%, depending on the temperature. In water as warm as 10 °C (50 °F), an otter needs to catch 100 g (3.5 oz) of fish per hour to survive. Most species hunt for three to five hours each day and nursing mothers up to eight hours each day.
For most otters, fish is the staple of their diet. This is often supplemented by frogs, crayfish and crabs. Some otters are experts at opening shellfish, and others will feed on available small mammals or birds. Prey-dependence leaves otters very vulnerable to prey depletion. Sea otters are hunters of clams, sea urchins and other shelled creatures. They are notable for their ability to use stones to break open shellfish on their stomachs. This skill must be learned by the young.
Otters are active hunters, chasing prey in the water or searching the beds of rivers, lakes or the seas. Most species live beside water, but river otters usually enter it only to hunt or travel, otherwise spending much of their time on land to prevent their fur becoming waterlogged. Sea otters are considerably more aquatic and live in the ocean for most of their lives.
Otters are playful animals and appear to engage in various behaviors for sheer enjoyment, such as making waterslides and then sliding on them into the water. They may also find and play with small stones. Different species vary in their social structure, with some being largely solitary, while others live in groups – in a few species these groups may be fairly large.
The European otter (Lutra lutra), also called the Eurasian otter, inhabits Europe, most of Asia and parts of North Africa. In the British Isles, they were common as recently as the 1950s, but became rare in many areas due to the use of chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides, habitat loss and water pollution (they remained relatively common in parts of Scotland and Ireland). Population levels reached a low point in the 1980s, but are now recovering strongly. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan envisages the re-establishment of otters by 2010 in all the UK rivers and coastal areas they inhabited in 1960. Roadkill deaths have become one of the significant threats to the success of their re-establishment.
The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) became one of the major animals hunted and trapped for fur in North America after European contact. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb).
In some areas, this is a protected species, and some places have otter sanctuaries that help sick and injured otters to recover.
Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are classified as marine mammals and live along the Pacific coast of North America. Their historic range included shallow waters of the Bering Strait and Kamchatka, and as far south as Japan. Sea otters have about 26,000 to 165,000 hairs per square centimeters of skin, a rich fur for which humans hunted them almost to extinction. By the time the 1911 Fur Seal Treaty gave them protection, so few sea otters remained that the fur trade had become unprofitable. Sea otters eat shellfish and other invertebrates (especially clams, abalone, and sea urchins). Otter populations are affected by the density of prey they hunt. Because the otter food source is easier to excavate from rocky-bottom habitats, as opposed to soft-bottom habitats, more otters tend to live in waters with rocky bottoms with access to shallow-burrowing prey. They frequently carry a rock in a pouch under their forearm and use this to smash open shells, making them one of the relatively small number of animals that use tools. They grow to 1.0 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.9 ft) in length and weigh 30 kg (66 lb). Although once near extinction, they have begun to spread again, from remnant populations in California and Alaska.
Unlike most marine mammals (such as seals or whales), sea otters do not have a layer of insulating blubber. As with other species of otter, they rely on a layer of air trapped in their fur, which they keep topped up by blowing into the fur from their mouths. They spend most of their time in the water, whereas other otters spend much of their time on land.
The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) inhabits South America, especially the Amazon river basin, but is becoming increasingly rare due to poaching, habitat loss, and the use of mercury and other toxins in illegal alluvial gold mining. This gregarious animal grows to a length of up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft), and is more aquatic than most other otters.
Otters have been hunted for their pelts from at least the 1700s, although it may have begun well before then. Early hunting methods included darts, arrows, nets and snares but later, traps were set on land and guns used.
There has been a long history of otter pelts being worn around the world. In China it was standard for the royalty to wear robes made from them. People that were financially high in status also wore them. The tails of otters were often made into items for men to wear. These included hats and belts. Even some types of mittens for children have been made from the fur of otters.
Otters have also been hunted using dogs, specifically the otterhound. From 1958 to 1963, the 11 otter hunts in England and Wales killed 1,065 otters between them. In such hunts, the hunters notched their poles after every kill. The prized trophy that hunters would take from the otters was the penis bone, which would be worn as a tie-pin.
Traffic (the wildlife trade monitoring network) reported that otters are at serious risk in Southeast Asia and have disappeared from parts of their former range. This decline in populations is due to hunting to supply the demand for skins.
For many generations, fishermen in southern Bangladesh have bred smooth-coated otters and used them to chase fish into their nets. Once a widespread practice, passed down from father to son throughout many communities in Asia, this traditional use of domesticated wild animals is still in practice in the district of Narail, Bangladesh.
In popular Korean mythology, it is told that people who see an otter (soodal) will attract 'rain clouds' for the rest of their lives.
In the Noto region, Ishikawa Prefecture, there are stories where they shapeshift into beautiful women or children wearing checker-patterned clothing. If a human attempts to speak to one, they will answer "oraya" and then answer "araya," and if anybody asks them anything, they say cryptic things like "kawai." There are darker stories, such as one from Kaga Province (now Ishikawa Prefecture) in which an otter that lives in the castle's moat shapeshifts into a woman, invites males, and then kills and eats them.
In the kaidan, essays, and legends of the Edo period like the "Urami Kanawa" (裏見寒話), "Taihei Hyaku Monogatari" (太平百物語), and the "Shifu Goroku" (四不語録), there are tales about strange occurrences like otters that shapeshift into beautiful women and kill men.
In the town of Numatachi, Asa District, Hiroshima Prefecture (now Hiroshima), they are called "tomo no kawauso" (伴のカワウソ) and "ato no kawauso" (阿戸のカワウソ). It is said that they shapeshift into bōzu (a kind of monk) and appear before passers-by, and if the passer-by tries to get close and look up, its height steadily increases until it becomes a large bōzu.
In the Tsugaru region, Aomori Prefecture, they are said to possess humans. It is said that those possessed by otters lose their stamina as if their soul has been extracted. They are also said to shapeshift into severed heads and get caught in fishing nets.
In the Kashima District and the Hakui District in Ishikawa Prefecture, they are seen as a yōkai under the name kabuso or kawaso. They perform pranks like extinguishing the fire of the paper lanterns of people who walk on roads at night, shapeshifting into a beautiful woman of 18 or 19 years of age and fooling people, or tricking people and making them try to engage in sumo against a rock or a tree stump. It is said that they speak human words, and sometimes people are called and stopped while walking on roads.
In the Ishikawa and Kochi Prefectures, they are said to be a type of kappa, and there are stories told about how they engage in sumo with otters. In places like the Hokuriku region, Kii, and Shikoku, the otters are seen as a type of kappa. In the Kagakushū, a dictionary from the Muromachi period, an otter that grew old becomes a kappa.
In an Ainu folktale, in Urashibetsu (in Abashiri, Hokkaido), there are stories where monster otters shapeshift into humans, go into homes where there are beautiful girls, and try to kill the girl and make her its wife.
The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter. African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. They range through most of sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo River basin and arid areas.
They are characterized by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived.Anne Sofie von Otter
Anne Sofie von Otter (born 9 May 1955) is a Swedish mezzo-soprano. Her repertoire encompasses lieder, operas, oratorios and also rock and pop songs.Asian small-clawed otter
The Asian small-clawed otter (Amblonyx cinerea, syn. Aonyx cinereus), also known as the oriental small-clawed otter or simply small-clawed otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to South and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and is the smallest otter species in the world. Its paws are a distinctive feature; its claws do not extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This gives it a high degree of manual dexterity so that it can use its paws to feed on molluscs, crabs and other small aquatic animals.
The Asian small-clawed otter inhabits mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands in South and Southeast Asia. It lives in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding; offspring from previous years help to raise the young. Due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution, and hunting in some areas, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.Butch Otter
Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter (born May 3, 1942) is an American businessman and politician, who served as the 32nd governor of Idaho, from 2007 to 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected in 2006, and reelected in 2010, and 2014. Otter served as lieutenant governor from 1987 to 2001 and in U.S. Congress from the first district from 2001 to 2007.
When he left office, Otter was the longest-serving governor in the United States whose time in office had ran consecutively, at 12 years. His election win in 2014 was his tenth consecutive victory.Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll is an American distributor, publisher, and licensing company focused on streaming anime, manga, and drama. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates, Crunchyroll's distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to over 35 million online community members worldwide. Crunchyroll is a subsidiary of Otter Media, which is a subsidiary of AT&T's WarnerMedia. Crunchyroll has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chișinău and Tokyo, and is a member of the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA).Crunchyroll offers over 900 anime shows, more than 200 Asian dramas to users, and 50 manga titles, although not all programming is available worldwide due to licensing restrictions. In February 2017, Crunchyroll passed one million paid subscribers. Crunchyroll also selects some anime titles for release on Blu-ray/DVD through its distribution partners (Funimation in the United States, Anime Limited in the United Kingdom).De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, including as a bush plane, but is overall a larger aircraft.De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
The de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and currently produced by Viking Air. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL capabilities, twin turboprop engines and high rate of climb have made it a successful commuter passenger airliner as well as a cargo and medical evacuation aircraft. In addition, the Twin Otter has been popular with commercial skydiving operations, and is used by the United States Army Parachute Team and the United States Air Force's 98th Flying Training Squadron.Eurasian otter
The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia. The most widely distributed member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), it is found in the waterways and coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa. The Eurasian otter has a diet mainly of fish, and is strongly territorial. It is endangered in parts of its range, but recovering in others.Giant otter
The giant otter or giant river otter
(Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. It is the longest member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft). Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely cohesive and cooperative. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. The giant otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. It is the noisiest otter species, and distinct vocalisations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggression and reassurance.
The giant otter ranges across north-central South America; it lives mostly in and along the Amazon River and in the Pantanal.
Its distribution has been greatly reduced and is now discontinuous. Decades of poaching for its velvety pelt, peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, considerably diminished population numbers. The species was listed as endangered in 1999 and wild population estimates are typically below 5,000. The Guianas are one of the last real strongholds for the species, which also enjoys modest numbers — and significant protection — in the Peruvian Amazonian basin. It is one of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics. Habitat degradation and loss is the greatest current threat. The giant otter is also rare in captivity; in 2003, only 60 animals were being held.The giant otter shows a variety of adaptations suitable to an amphibious lifestyle, including exceptionally dense fur, a wing-like tail, and webbed feet. The species prefers freshwater rivers and streams, which are usually seasonally flooded, and may also take to freshwater lakes and springs. It constructs extensive campsites close to feeding areas, clearing large amounts of vegetation. The giant otter subsists almost exclusively on a diet of fish, particularly characins and catfish, but may also eat crabs, turtles, snakes and small caiman. It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the neotropical otter and caiman species, for food resources.List of lakes of Minnesota
This is a list of lakes of Minnesota. Although promoted as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," Minnesota has 11,842 lakes of 10 acres or more. The 1968 state survey found 15,291 lake basins, of which 3,257 were dry. If all basins over 2.5 acres were counted, Minnesota would have 21,871 lakes. The prevalence of lakes has generated many repeat names. For example, there are more than 200 Mud Lakes, 150 Long Lakes, and 120 Rice Lakes. All but four Minnesota counties (Mower, Olmsted, Pipestone and Rock) contain at least one natural lake. Minnesota's lakes provide 44,926 miles of shoreline, more than the combined lake (~32,000 mi) and coastal (3,427 mi) shorelines of California.Marine otter
The marine otter (Lontra felina) is a rare and poorly known South American mammal of the weasel family (Mustelidae). The scientific name means "otter cat", and in Spanish, the marine otter is also often referred to as gato marino: "marine cat". The marine otter (while spending much of its time out of the water) only lives in saltwater, coastal environments and rarely ventures into freshwater or estuarine habitats. This saltwater exclusivity is unlike most other otter species, except for the almost fully aquatic sea otter (Enhydra lutris) of the north Pacific.Mustelidae
The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.Neotropical otter
The neotropical otter or neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis) is an otter species found in Central America, South America and the island of Trinidad. It is physically similar to the northern and southern river otter, which occur directly north and south of this species' range. The length of the neotropical otter can range from 90–150 centimetres (35–59 in), of which the tail comprises about a third. Body weight ranges from 5–15 kilograms (11–33 lb). Otters are members of the family Mustelidae, the most species-rich (and therefore diverse) family in the order Carnivora.
This otter is found in many different riverine habitats, including deciduous and evergreen forests, savannas, llanos and pantanal. It prefers to live in clear fast-flowing rivers and streams. It is a relatively solitary animal and feeds mostly on fish and crustaceans.North American river otter
The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.
The North American river otter, a member of the subfamily Lutrinae in the weasel family (Mustelidae), is equally versatile in the water and on land. It establishes a burrow close to the water's edge in river, lake, swamp, coastal shoreline, tidal flat, or estuary ecosystems. The den typically has many tunnel openings, one of which generally allows the otter to enter and exit the body of water. Female North American river otters give birth in these underground burrows, producing litters of one to six young.North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish. The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish. Instances of North American river otters eating small mammals, such as mice and squirrels, and occasionally birds have been reported as well. There have also been some reports of river otters attacking and even drowning dogs.The range of the North American river otter has been significantly reduced by habitat loss, beginning with the European colonization of North America. In some regions, though, their population is controlled to allow the trapping and harvesting of otters for their pelts. North American river otters are very susceptible to the effects of environmental pollution, which is a likely factor in the continued decline of their numbers. A number of reintroduction projects have been initiated to help stabilize the reduction in the overall population.Otter Tail County, Minnesota
Otter Tail County is a county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 57,303. Its county seat is Fergus Falls. The county was formed in 1858 and organized in 1868.
Otter Tail County comprises the Fergus Falls, MN Micropolitan Statistical Area.Otter civet
The otter civet (Cynogale bennettii) is a semiaquatic civet native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is listed as Endangered because of a serious ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the past three generations (estimated to be 15 years), inferred from direct habitat destruction, and indirect inferred declines due to pollutants.Cynogale is a monospecific genus.Sea otter
The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter's primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Although it can walk on land, the sea otter is capable of living exclusively in the ocean.
The sea otter inhabits nearshore environments, where it dives to the sea floor to forage. It preys mostly on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. Its foraging and eating habits are noteworthy in several respects. First, its use of rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. In most of its range, it is a keystone species, controlling sea urchin populations which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries.
Sea otters, whose numbers were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000 individuals living in a fraction of their historic range. A subsequent international ban on hunting, conservation efforts, and reintroduction programs into previously populated areas have contributed to numbers rebounding, and the species occupies about two-thirds of its former range. The recovery of the sea otter is considered an important success in marine conservation, although populations in the Aleutian Islands and California have recently declined or have plateaued at depressed levels. For these reasons, the sea otter remains classified as an endangered species.Smooth-coated otter
The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is an otter species occurring in most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otter species.Spotted-necked otter
The spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), or speckle-throated otter, is an otter native to sub-Saharan Africa.
Extant Carnivora species