Otters are part of the Scientific order Carnivora which
includes: bears, dogs and cats.
Otters are part of the Mustelidae family which includes
badgers, skunks and weasels. There are 13 species of
otter. Otter species include the European Otter, Cape
Clawless Otter, Northern River Otter, American Clawless
Otter, Oriental Small-Clawed Otter, Giant River Otter
and Sea Otter.
Otters can be found in almost every habitat on Earth
and may dwell above ground, below ground or in the water.
Otters can be found on all continents except Australia
and Antartica. Otters live in fresh water rivers, lakes,
marshes and sea otters live in coastal ocean waters.
Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred
meters from water. Most otter species rely on aquatic
habitats for food. With the exception of the sea otter
most otters spend a good deal of time on land.
All otter species occupy a home range, the size of
the range varies by species and location. Terrirtories
are different from home ranges. They are smaller and
otters mark their territories with scent. Same sex territories
do not overlap and are defended by their owners.
Otters are highly active, intelligent and adaptable.
Otters have long slim muscular bodies, with forepaws
shorter than their hind legs. When Otters are on land,
they are fairly nimble runners and leapers. They use
a combination of running sliding, and bounding. Otters
range from 26 - 94 inches long.
Otters have flattened heads and short thick necks.
Otters have whiskers on their muzzle that are sensitive
to touch and vibrations that occur underwater. They
use their whiskers to detect movement of their prey.
Otters have small ears that, like their noses close
when they are in the water. Otters have a fine dense
fur, the length of the fur varies with the species.
Otters have very good hearing. Otters are excellent
swimmers. They regularly groom their fur to maintain
its insulating qualities. They can spend a significant
amount of time each day grooming. Otters communicate
vocally by producing different sounds.
Otters live 10-15 years but mortality can vary by species.
About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals http://www.wildlife-animals.com
an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also
guest writes for Dog Pound http://www.dog-pound.net