Otter Facts

  • Otters enjoy playing games, such as dropping pebbles into water and catching them on their heads!
  • The African clawless otter can move its thumb across the other fingers to hold onto objects.
  • Clawless otters gather tough-shelled freshwater mussels with their hands, and take them ashore to smash them on rocks.
  • When hunted by hounds, otters have been known to drag their pursuers under water and drown them.
  • Otters have special whiskers on their muzzles and elbows that are sensitive to water disturbances and help them to locate prey.
  • Giant otters clear a series of 7 m wide areas around their territories before scent-marking them.
  • The male Eurasian otter patrols a territory of up to 50 km of riverbank; the female’s territory is about 10 km.
  • The marine otter of the west coast of South America is the smallest sea mammal in the world, weighing no more than 4.5 kg.
  • Some types of otter, including the Cape clawless otter and the Oriental short-clawed otter, catch their prey in their paws rather than in their mouths.