What are otters?
Otters are carnivorous mammals that tend to hunt for food and swim at night. When underwater, they perform graceful swimming movements, and these little animals are capable of speeds of up to 7 miles per hour. They tend to feed mainly on the fish they hunt, although their diet is made of crustaceans, frogs, and sea urchins.
They also tend to eat large amounts of invertebrates. When it comes to hunting and getting food, their intelligence is remarkable since they are one of the few species that use resources and tools when hunting. For example, they can dive up to 250 feet underwater to get shells and mollusks, and If they cannot open them with their claws, this is not a problem for them as they use their cunning to open them using rocks to break them.
These animals can reach a size of up to 15 inches and a weight of 60 lbs. Thanks to their peculiar anatomy, these animals can adapt to life on land or in water, preferring to stay in the water. These small animals are usually very social, active, and playful with each other and have adaptation and survival skills and communication skills. These animals perceive as the main threats not only their natural predators but also humans in most cases.
Can otters be pets?
Wild animals can be easily kept at home and domesticated, but there are also animals. Limes should not be removed from their natural habitat for different reasons, either because of their attitude or their dependence on the conditions they are naturally found in.
Otters belong to this second group, and these are wild animals that are very difficult to keep as pets, thanks to their specific needs to stay comfortable, their aggressive attitude, and their tendency to bite. Also, this translates not only into property destruction but also they tend to bite their owner.
In addition to these behavioral factors, there are legal problems because this is a species considered in danger of extinction, and it is advisable to give up the idea of keeping one of these animals as a pet.
Is it legal to have a pet otter?
It is a matter that, even though in some countries of the world, such as Japan, having a pet otter has become a recent fad, the truth is that in most countries of the world, owning one of these animals is illegal.
In case of wanting to request it as a companion animal, a specific series of difficult requirements must be met, which makes having an otter as a pet an even more difficult task than it already is.
What needs does an otter have in the wild?
Otters are striking animals that feel very comfortable in the water. They have a thick coat that also turns out to be waterproof, which allows them to stay warm when they are underwater.
They have the natural need to be near rivers since this is their natural environment, where they can hunt their food. Also, these animals rarely leave their mothers before the first 18 months of age since, during that time, their mother teaches them all the skills they need to survive alone.
If we are determined to obtain one of these animals as a pet, we must consider having a space full of water since they spend a lot of time submerged, especially in cold water since they have a high metabolism that allows them to stay warm. Another ability these animals naturally possess is the ability to close their nostrils for up to 6 minutes underwater before needing to surface to breathe again.
Otters are animals that tend to eat a lot and very often. Their favorite food is fish, in any presentation, breed, or season. These carnivorous mammals are not selective at all when it comes to choosing their food.
When they are hungry, they can eat anything to survive, and many of these things do not excessively affect them, thanks to their metabolism. They can consume up to 16 pounds of food daily, and it represents about 20% of their body weight in a day.
Besides fish, other food sources for these animals are small birds, frogs, clams, and invertebrates. When on land, they can eat lizards and fruits, which quickly become part of their diet. Interestingly, these being intelligent and cunning animals, if they are in a specific ecosystem where there is an abundant species that they can eat, the otters will change their diet to consume almost only this species. At the same time, they find it available around them.
Precautions when having contact with an otter
In the event that permission is obtained to own one of these animals as a companion, we must be clear that having it as a pet is a difficult task since we should not only worry about its specific needs but also, thanks to its aggressive nature, they tend to bite with its very sharp teeth.
Another of the very unpleasant habits of this animal is a natural spray with an unpleasant smell that they tend to spray constantly on themselves
Thanks to its wild and not very homey nature, it is crucial that we provide the otter with outdoor spaces. These should preferably be near rivers or streams.
It is important that they spend most of the active time they have during the day near these environments since this species has the habit of spending around 5 hours a day hunting for food. They do not hunt exclusively in water or on land but can do so in both environments without problems.
A curious fact about their hunting is that, even though otters are nocturnal animals, they usually carry out their hunting periods during the first hours of the day or during the afternoon. They do not usually do it at night if not strictly necessary.
However, we must not only be careful to provide a good hunting space for these animals but we must also be attentive to what food they consume since most of these species die due to kidney and liver problems due to their careless habits.
Food. It is also essential to offer them clean water since the parasites that can be found in rivers and lakes can do them a lot of damage. There have even been cases where otters die of hunger after breaking their teeth when trying to consume tough food. Therefore, if we have it as a pet, we must closely monitor their habits and diets.
One of the biggest precautions that we must take when having them as pets is that these animals become especially aggressive when it is time for their heat, so it is recommended to stay as far away as possible from them during their heat period. The most dangerous thing about this fact is that the mating season of these animals can occur at any time of the year.