There are 13 different species of Otter including the African Clawless Otter, Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Congo Clawless Otter, Sea Otter, North American River Otter, Marine Otter, Neotropical Otter, South American River Otter, Eurasian Otter, Spotted-Neck Otter, Hairy Nosed Otter, Smooth Coat Otter, and the Hairy Otter. Otters are members of the Mustelidae family of carnivores, which also includes the badger, polecat, mink, ferret, pine marten, stoat and weasel.
Otters are adorable creatures that live both on land and in the water. They are often mistaken for beavers though. They hunt for food both in the water such as fish and then also land creatures including small reptiles. They are small animals that average about four feet in length and up to 30 pounds. Otters eat fish, mollusks, frogs crayfish, crabs, abalone, mussels, and clams. Otters live to be about 15-so years old
They have been around for at least 5 million years based on early fossil remains. They are found in very diverse locations and even small bodies of water. The future for some of the species is in danger though due to hunting and due to the destruction of their natural habitat. Many of them can’t find enough food to survive or the waters around them are polluted which results in them becoming very ill.
Otters can stay submerged for about five minutes, because their heart rate slows, and they use less oxygen. They’re also good at floating on the water’s surface, because air trapped in their fur makes them more buoyant. Keeping their fur in good condition is important, so otters spend a lot of time grooming. In fact, if their fur becomes matted with something like oil, it can damage their ability to hunt for food and stay warm.. Otters also have long, slightly flattened tails that move sideways to propel them through the water while their back feet act like rudders to steer.
Female otters rear their young on their own. The young otters will remain with her for about a year, learning all the skills they will need for life on their own. There may be 2 – 5 cubs in the litter, but usually only one or two will survive. After their first year they have to leave to set up their own home range somewhere else, often traveling great distances.