Other names: Eurasian Otter
Latin name: Lutra lutra
size: approx. 0.8m - 1.20m
mass: 5 - 10kg
Older: 5 - 12 years
Appearance: brown-gray coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Fish, insects, birds, rodents
distribution: Asia, Europe, North Africa
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: Day and night active
habitat: Rivers, wooded shores
natural enemies: Lynx, white-tailed eagle
sexual maturity: at the age of two
mating season: all year round
gestation: 55 - 64 days
litter size: 1 - 4 cubs
social behavior: Family Association
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the otter
- The otter is considered a member of the marten family and lives as a predator perfectly adapted to the water, preferably in shallow, clear and fish-rich rivers with flood plains and thickly vegetated shores. It is located in central and northern Europe, northern Asia and some western countries of North Africa. In many countries of Scandinavia and Scotland, the otter is also found in salty waters.
- The otter is an excellent swimmer and diver and a highly adaptable mammal that, like all martens, is very versatile. In addition to fish, his diet also includes insects, frogs, snails, water birds, mice, clams, carrion and crabs.
- Otters have a slim physique and can be up to 120 inches long, with the hairy and strong, tapering tail about a quarter of the total length. Males are significantly heavier than females with an average weight of nine to ten kilograms.
- Depending on their size and sex, otters have to consume between half a kilo and one kilogram of food daily. Only when hungry the otter consumes its prey directly after the hunt in the water, he usually takes his time with it until he reaches the shore.
- The hunting ground of a male includes water courses with a total length of about forty kilometers.
- The female usually gives birth to one to four juveniles, who spend about a year in the care of their mother and learn during this time to hunt their prey independently.
- In the past, otters were hunted by humans especially for their valuable coat. The dense fur of the animals was in demand mainly because of its excellent protection against the cold. For every square centimeter of skin, otters produce about 50,000 hairs, compared to just 120 in humans.
- Through intense persecution, otters have become primarily nocturnal animals over the centuries. A male otter drops about fifteen kilometers in one night when he goes hunting.
- Otters set up a hiding place under tree roots and shrubs on the shore every 1,000 meters along their territory. During the day, the otter stays in a protective shelter and sleeps.
- In many European countries the otter is one of the endangered species due to the long persecution. Not only the hunting drastically decimated the population, but also the change in their habitat, especially the straightening of many rivers, the traffic and the pollution of their waters contributed significantly to the fact that the numbers are still declining. As a result of human habitat destruction, only fifteen percent of otters reach the age of three.