Otters are intelligent mammals that can be as cuddly and needy. Here are some surprising yet cute facts about them.
1. Sea otters can grow between 34 and 60 inches in length. Most sea otters measure less than 50 inches. They usually weigh between 7 to 31 pounds (3 – 14 kg). Weight of otter depends on their breed. North American Sea Otters are larger than Asian otters. North American Sea Otter is also more slender than other otter breeds.
2. Sea otters mainly live in river basins. Their velvety dense fur keeps them warm in the water.
3. Sea otters have great impact on the environment. They eat animals that eat the seaweeds, thus helping in maintaining the balance of under-sea ecosystem. Sea otters are classified as “threatened with extinction”. If they go extinct, the ecosystem will be severely disturbed.
4. Sea otters are carnivores. They eat small marine animals like fish, crabs, sea urchins, etc. They can even store food in their pockets found under their forearms.
5. Sea otters do not have a fixed mating season. They mate all year around. Baby otters are highly dependent on their mothers and cannot survive independently.
6. Baby sea otters are born blind. Mother otter carry their babies on their tummy until they are 3 to 5 months old.
7. Sea otter moms adopt orphaned sea otter babies and take care of them.
8. Sea otters can form close attachment with humans and cannot be left alone at all. This is why sea otters are better off when raised by otter moms. Their parents teach them how to swim and put the pups on their bellies when they get tired.
9. Giant otters are found in Amazon rainforest. They can create 22 different types of sounds.
10. Otters can eat 15 – 25% of their body weight daily in food. They have a very fast metabolism.
11. There are thirteen different species of otters. Otters can be found in habitat of Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Giant otters are found in the Americas, while tropical otters are found in Asia and Africa.
12. Sea otters prefer staying in water than land. They are diving experts and can stay under water for up to 6 minutes. This is also because they can see better in water than on land.
13. Otters are very social. They always live in groups and spend their time playing, playfighting.
14. They are incredibly intelligent. They use tools such as stones to access food, such as mollusks hidden in shells.
15. Their swimming speed is 12 kmph, while speed on land is about 30 kmph.
16. The fur of an otter is the densest of all animals on Earth. They can have one million hairs per square inch.
17. The smallest otter in the world is the dwarf otter or the small-toed Asian otter. It measures about 35 inches and weigh only 11 pounds (5 kg).
18. Otters criss-cross their legs with each other while sleep floating on water so that they don’t drift away with the waves.