Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Otters: Natural Science

undefined

What are Otters?

 

The charismatic otter, a member of the weasel family, is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Most are small, with short ears and noses, elongated bodies, long tails, and soft, dense fur.

There are 13 species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to the giant otter. Though most live in freshwater rivers, lakes, and wetlands, the sea otter and the smaller marine otter are found in the Pacific Ocean.

Webbed feet and powerful tails, which act like rudders, make otters strong swimmers. Their nostrils and ears close to keep water out, and waterproof fur keeps them warm. They must carefully groom their fur and furry undercoat to keep them clean and sealed off to water, because they’re not covered in a fatty layer like other seagoing creatures. Otters have the densest fur of any animal—as many as a million hairs per square inch in places.

(Continue reading from National Geographic)

 

Learn More about Otters

 

 

Books about Otters

 

Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. (Continue reading from Defenders of Wildlife)

undefined