looking_otterOtters are very playful animal, and are very often seen playing and jumping around in the water, and they definitely love to slide on the snow. Both males and females are both very playful overall, except in mating season when the males will not play and sometimes they will even fight.

River otters can live up to 15 years out in the wild, and even 25 years in captivity.  There are 13 species of otters, Cape Claw less Otter, Sea Otter, Oriental small-clawed Otter, Congo Claw less Otter, North American River Otter, Marine Otter, Neotropical Otter, Eurasian Otter, Spotted-necked Otter,  India Smooth-necked Otter, Southern River Otter, Hairy-nosed Otter, and the Giant Otter. And sadly the Sea Otter is very endangered. Otters are a small dark brown animal with a lighter coloured belly with small nose, small eyes, and long white whiskers. Otters live in rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds in forested areas, although they also spend much of their time on the land. They can dive down to as low as 55 feet, and can swim a quarter of a mile in 1 breath and can stay underwater for 2 minutes.Males are heavier and bigger than females, but they both weigh about 11 to 30 pounds, although most don’t get over 20 pounds. They can grow up to 4 feet, but usually are smaller. The otters are carnivores, and their diet is mostly on fish and small invertebrates such as crabs and crayfish, amphibians, birds, crustaceans, reptiles, and sometimes they will even eat mice, turtles, muskrats, and beavers. Otters use their whiskers to search for their food at the bottom of the water, and will often go for the slow fish such as catfish. For harder meals a group of otters will corner their prey to easily catch them. Otters may be excellent hunters, but a research has found out that finding food while diving is a success rate of below 20%. Baby otters, or kits, are helpless when they are born, and they open their eyes at at least 3 weeks old. The kits will first exit their den when they are about 2 months old, entering the outside world, and the mother otter will help her kits with their swimming and foraging skills, although the father usually doesn’t do any help. The kits will have learnt to raise themselves after being about 6 months old, although the family will stay together for a few more months, usually until a new litter is born, and by then the kits will be about 1 year old.

Otters are at the top of the food chain, so they have no problems with them being the prey. But an old threat to them was traps, because in the pas people would catch them for their fur. But nowadays the huge threat to otters is river pollution. The rivers are polluted by the plants that have been sprayed with insecticide and other sprays with poison, and then this gets bashed down by rain into the rivers where many otters now live. This poisons the creatures in the rivers which then the otters feed on, so they otters are also poisoned and breeding is made more difficult.

The number of  otters is going down, and this cute and playful animal has already got a few endangered species and is threatened. Humans are trying to make a difference, but not all. The more who help, the better chance the otters have to survive.

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