Otters are incredibly awesome and adorable especially when they are being watched exhibiting their intelligent and fascinating behaviors. In fact most of us get lost in their unique intelligence and characteristics that we forget there are other facts about this charming mammal. I mean fascinating facts which are not known by many that we need to familiarize ourselves with. That is why we bring you some of the interesting lesser known facts about the stunning creature. Read on to see them below:
Otters Have the Most Dense Fur and One of the Most Valuable Fur of All
Sea otters have the thickest fur of all animals. They have as many as 1 million hairs in every square inch of their most dense body part, and they need every strand of hair as they are the only marine mammals that don’t have a layer of blubber as insulation against the freezing ocean water. However, it is not every part of their bodies that has so much hair. Places such as their paws dont have plenty of hairs, which is one of the many reasons they hold their paws up when sleeping –so to avoid water touching them and to conserve body heat.
Of course too much hair needs good grooming, so the animals spend most of their time eating, sleeping or grooming. Once they are not eating resting or sleeping, they are usually busy grooming themselves to look good. They groom their furs to remain dry and as warm as possible.
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Sea Otters Hold Hands
Yes, Sea Otters hold hands so they don’t drift apart from each other. Usually, a mother and pup will cling to each other while sleeping to avoid drifting apart from one another. However when sea Otters are not holding hands while sleeping, they are using kelp instead, by wrapping themselves in long strands of kelp. They prefer to use long stands of Kelp which grow from the sea floor all the way up to the surface of the water as a mainstay to sleep without fear of drifting out to the open ocean.
How Big Are Otters When They Are Born?
Baby Otters can be as long as their mothers at birth making it difficult to differentiate the pups from the mothers. Many people who are not aware that the males and females stay separated often assume this is a couple rather than a mother and a pup.
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Mothers Groom Their Babies
Remember we said sea Otters take time grooming themselves? Mother sea Otters have double jobs of grooming to carry out. This is because she has to groom both herself and her fluffy baby. Baby Otters can’t groom themselves, and when their furs are not properly groomed, it can become tangled with pollutants, and this of course won’t let their skin warm and dry. So their mothers groom their own furs as well their babies’ furs which is no easy task.
What Are Baby Otters Called?
Baby otters are incredibly adorable with cute names. They are called pups but can also be called kits or kittens. Whatever name you choose to call them, just know they are generally called charming!
Other Names Otters Are Called:
There are so many names for a group of otters including a bevy, family, lodge. They can also be called a romp depending on what their energy level and antics might entail. A group of Otters in water are best referred to as a raft. Male Otters are called boars, while females are called sows.
Also, Otters’ hidden homes are called a special name (or two). Their resting places are known as a hover or a couch, which are usually a bit bigger than a bed of reeds. They also use what’s referred to as a holt, tiny underground dens where Otters can take shelter, escape danger and where females raise their young ones.
The Life Cycle of an Otter
It takes Pregnant Otters 60 to 86 days to have their babies. The newborn pup is often cared for by the mother, father and older offspring. Female Otters become sexually mature at about 2 years old while the males are at 3 years old. After one month of birth, the newborn pup can leave the holt and after two months, it is able to swim. The pup lives with its family for about one year. Otters live up to 10 or more years.
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Sea Otters Aren’t River Otters:
Often times, people mistake river Otters as pictured above for Sea Otters. But it is important to note that river otters and sea otters are not the same creatures. They differ both in size and locations where they are found. For example River otters though can swim and hunt in sea water, live essentially in fresh water while sea Otters live only in the ocean along on the coastline. And speaking of size, Sea Otters are bigger than most species of river otter, and are in fact the most massive of all Otter species.
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Generally, Otters Eat Too Much Food:
Not just giant otters, all species of Otters love food. They all have big appetites and they require plenty of food to help quick metabolism. They eat about 15-25% of their whole body weight in food per day. To ensure there is sufficient food to satisfy their hunger, Otters can spend about 5 hours every day searching widely for food.
River otters basically eat fish, based on what Defenders of Wildlife revealed. They eat anything and everything they can get with ease. Things like crustaceans, mollusks, insects, birds, oysters, shellfish, crabs, crayfish, frogs, rodents, turtles and aquatic invertebrates while Sea Otters play a significant role in the coastal ocean ecosystem by feeding on a diversity of fish and crustaceans, but importantly, they feed on urchins that eat kelp. Thus sea otters help in keeping kelp forests healthy since urchin populations would be experiencing constant rise while kelp will decline greatly.
Species Found Around the World
Apart from countries like Australia and Antarctica, Otters can be found in almost all the continents in the world . In all, there are 13 different species of Otters found around the world (not just river otters and sea otters). From small Asian small-clawed Otters estimated at 2-3 feet in length, to the massive Otters which are about 5-5.5 feet in length. However, IUCN reveals that 12 of the 13 Otter species except North American river Otters are threatened or endangered and as a result, the population of the animal is decreasing dramatically.