interesting facts about otters

February 16, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

Otters are semi-aquatic (or in one case aquatic) fish-eating mammals.

With thirteen species in seven genera, otters have an almost worldwide distribution. The only continents where otters do not live are Australia and Antarctica.

They mainly eat aquatic animals, predominantly fish and shellfish, but also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals.

An otter’s den is called a holt or couch. A male otter is a dog (otter), a female a bitch (otter), and a baby a whelp or pup.

Female otters rear their young on their own.

They can stay underwater for up to four minutes, after witch they must surface to breathe.

The otter can swim faster than any other four-legged animal and can close its ears and nostrils to keep out the water
There are 13 species of otters.

They can consume up to 25% of their body weight daily.

Otters make several different sounds to communicate. A baby sea otter will cry when it is left alone.

Tail: 1 foot or less long.

The largest of the 13 species of otter is the giant otter, reaching a length of up to 1.8 m and known as the river wolf in Peru.

The smallest is the Asian small-clawed otter, less than a meter long.

Dense Fur

The fur on a sea otter is finer and more dense than on any other animal. Large otters have an estimated 650,000 hairs per square inch (about 100,000 per square centimeter), while an adult human has only 100,000 – 150,000 hairs on the entire scalp. Natural oils in otter fur also repel water and trap tiny air bubbles, providing a layer of warm air between the otter’s skin and the harsh elements of its environment.

Sea otters need this specialized, dense fur because unlike other marine mammals, they don’t have blubber to help keep them warm.

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