Otter Facts - Animal Facts Encyclopedia
Only one otter species seems to be thriving, and that's the North American Otters love to eat shelled animals, like clams, but they aren't equipped with the. I love otters. I will always love otters, and now I love them more, because they are like little Rowans running around with rocks in their pockets. Fact checked. Animal Facts to Fall in Love With Pairs of otters hold each others' hands while they sleep because they're afraid Photo of Two Sea Otters This is a relationship with mutual benefits as the two shrimps keep the inside of.
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They require a permanent water source and maintain territories of a few square miles revolving around a lake or river. Some species are very territorial and mark the perimeter of their territory with piles of scat, called spraint. Many of the river otter species look alike with medium brown fur and similar shaped heads and faces.
The giant otters however, are fairly distinctive, with noticeably darker fur that looks almost black when wet, and a unique, round head shape. The muzzle is much more blunted, and the eyes sometimes have a bulging appearance. The giant otter has an unusual nose as well, because it is furred and looks almost like the nose of a monkey. All river otters are designed for semi-aquatic life.
Most have webbed toes, but all have incredibly dense fur that has water-shedding qualities, and is still used to make coats, boot and glove linings, and hats. Most river otter species are in danger because of their need for a specific habitat. As human encroachment increases, they may all suffer the fate of the recently extinct Japanese river otter. Once numerous, but last seen in the wild inthe Japanese river otter was officially declared extinct in by the Japanese Ministry of Environment.
Holts may be a burrow, dug directly into the ground, with several entrances, and exits both underwater and on land, or converted beaver dens that otters may add their own flair to. Some holts are caves or stone outcroppings that the otters will partially enclose with a collection of sticks.
Depending on what food is available, otters may forage across a territory of several square miles, eating any small animals within their grasp, from baby bunnies, to insects and grubs, to frogs, snakes and turtles. They will often forage alone, but sometimes hunt in groups, and have been known to attack animals larger than themselves if the numbers are on their side. This was discovered by the Bronx zoo recently, when a group of otters swarmed on a monkey that was being housed in the same exhibit.
The otters worked as one swift and merciless unit, and displayed a bit of frenzy behavior. Giant river otters are the most social of the species, and display the most organized cooperative lifestyle. They live in a pack-like community, with an Alpha pair, their offspring, and assorted relatives, and go out hunting as a group, taking down animals like small deer and rabbits, but also dangerous stuff like anacondas and caiman.
River otters are extremely playful and engage in lots of social bonding, mutual grooming, wrestling and snuggling. The whole family may take part in the rearing of young. Most river otter species are generally monogamous and they may even mate for life.
Females give birth to 2 to 6 babies called pups, that are well-furred, but otherwise helpless with closed eyes and ears.
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They stay in the den with their mother for several weeks, during which time she may be brought food by family members, and some trusted assistants may even babysit while the mother goes out for a bit of fresh air. The pups eyes will open at about 4 weeks, and they will begin venturing out of the den at 6 to 10 weeks.
River otter mothers have been known to push or drop their youngsters in the water to teach them to swim, which comes naturally of course. Most baby otters are fishing on their own by about 4 months, but they will stay with mom for at least a year. Some young otters will remain with their romp for life, others will head out on their own when they are between 1 and 4 years old to establish a territory.
Sea otter facts There is one species of sea otter and three subspecies, the California or Southern sea otter is found off the central coast of California, the Northern sea otter is found in the waters off Alaska and Canada, and the common or Asian sea otter is found along coastlines of Japan and Russia.
Although giant otters can be quite a bit longer, sea otters are far bulkier, heavier and ultimately largest species of otter. They are actually the largest member of the weasel, or mustelid family, but they are considered the smallest marine mammal. They can spend almost their entire lives in ocean waters, rarely coming onshore.
They sleep, eat, mate and give birth in the water. Sea otters don't venture far from shore, and spend their days diving to the ocean floor to scrounge up any number of different sea creatures. They prefer clams, mollusks and crab, using their muzzle full of sensitive whiskers and their dexterous, retractable claws to search through coral and kelp.
They take dives an average of 90 seconds long, but can stay under for over 4 minutes.
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They can store a few food items and rocks in the loose skin under their forelimbs that form pseudo-pouches, tucking away as many as a dozen clams or other small items. When they surface, they float on their backs and use their belly as a lunch counter. They empty their pouches and pile their clams and crawfish on their chest, pull out a rock they picked out of the sediment, and proceed to grasp each shellfish with their front paws, bashing it against the rock to open it.
They have the densest, basically warmest fur of any mammal, including their relative the mink, but the fur must be kept meticulously clean in order to do its job. The one-million-hairs-per-square-inch coat keeps them warm with its own thickness, but also serves to trap a layer of air between it and the otters skin, acting like a puffed-up parka and a life jacket at the same time.
If the fur gets dirty, the otter won't float, and will loose body heat. A sea otter that has been soiled in an oil spill will die without intervention. Over the course of a rough winter, he meticulously documented many species, and while some have since gone extinct like a sea-cow he described that was hunted into extinctionthe adorable otter was among his initial discoveries.
Or, she might rely on human resources and otter ingenuity to find a makeshift "playpen" for her pup. Even if you find them otherwise adorable, otters' mating habits will no doubt make your stomach turn. Male otters' mating techniques are violent. They bite their female partner's face during copulation to keep her from slipping away, leaving her with substantial facial wounds.
It's not uncommon for female otters to die as a result of these aggressive encounters, either through drowning or from their wounds becoming infected. Male otters have also been known to violently copulate with other species—most notably, baby seals [ PDF ]. The behavior doesn't stop when the seals die from the trauma.
Otters have been known to guard and have sex with the bodies of their victims for up to seven days after they've died. Scientists hypothesize that these seemingly counterproductive mating habits might be the result of a population imbalance. In California's Monterey Bay, where scientists observed otters trying to copulate with the week-old bodies of dead baby seals, there are far more male otters than females.
Facing a lack of female partners, male otters may be engaging in what researchers call "misdirected sexual activity.
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