Though it is the largest, it isn’t the heaviest. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. However, water pollution, uncontrolled trapping and severe habitat loss have reduced the number of river otters. [15] As with other species of otter, they rely on a layer of air trapped in their fur, which they keep topped up by blowing into the fur from their mouths. The prized trophy that hunters would take from the otters was the penis bone, which would be worn as a tie-pin. They may also find and play with small stones. Several otter species live in cold waters and have high metabolic rates to help keep them warm. In contrast to the European otter, the North American river otter has a longer neck and narrower face. The 13 species range in adult size from 0.6 to 1.8 m (2.0 to 5.9 ft) in length and 1 to 45 kg (2.2 to 99.2 lb) in weight. Genus †Algarolutra Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are classified as marine mammals and live along the Pacific coast of North America. Most species hunt for three to five hours each day and nursing mothers up to eight hours each day. People that were financially high in status also wore them. Her lapdog assumed the form of an otter and shared her prolonged lifetime and her extensive wanderings. Types of Sea Otters. There are three known subspecies of sea otters, which differ only by their body´s size and some other individual characteristics of their teeth and skulls. It is said that they shapeshift into bōzu (a kind of monk) and appear before passers-by, and if the passer-by tries to get close and look up, its height steadily increases until it becomes a large bōzu. Also known as the Cape clawless otter, the African clawless otter is found through much of sub-Saharan Africa. †Siamogale Lutra Lutrogale Already have an account with us? Norse mythology tells of the dwarf Ótr habitually taking the form of an otter. Discover more fascinating facts about giant otters in our fact file by the International Otter Survival Fund. There are 13 species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to the giant otter. [15] Otter populations are affected by the density of prey they hunt. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, but the largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters. Description. [6] The collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge, romp (being descriptive of their often playful nature) or, when in water, raft. River otters appear to … In the Noto region, Ishikawa Prefecture, there are stories where they shapeshift into beautiful women or children wearing checker-patterned clothing. They perform pranks like extinguishing the fire of the paper lanterns of people who walk on roads at night, shapeshifting into a beautiful woman of 18 or 19 years of age and fooling people, or tricking people and making them try to engage in sumo against a rock or a tree stump. Hairy-nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. For most otters, fish is the staple of their diet. Unlike most marine mammals (such as seals or whales), sea otters do not have a layer of insulating blubber. You can unsubscribe at any time. The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species and the giant otter and sea otter are the largest. Males weigh up to 90 lbs. Sea otters are native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. The North American river otter's body is built for streamlined swimming. Different species vary in their social structure, with some being largely solitary, while others live in groups – in a few species these groups may be fairly large. If a human attempts to speak to one, they will answer "oraya" and then answer "araya," and if anybody asks them anything, they say cryptic things like "kawai. It is common in Lake Victoria and Zambia, but not in some lakes and rivers, such as in the Zambezi below the Victoria Falls. The African Clawless Otter is the second largest of all the species. Bitch otters reach sexual maturity at approximately two years of age and males at approximately three years. Sea otters eat shellfish and other invertebrates (especially clams, abalone, and sea urchins). North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), Neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis), Spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Genus †Megalenhydris Otters have long, slim bodies and relatively short limbs. [20], For many generations, fishermen in southern Bangladesh have bred smooth-coated otters and used them to chase fish into their nets. Two species are marine, with the others living predominantly in fresh water. This skill must be learned by the young.[12]. This species can grow quite large, almost as big as the giant otter, and weigh up to 18kg. Although once near extinction, they have begun to spread again, from remnant populations in California and Alaska. For other uses, see, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation", "Building large trees by combining phylogenetic information: a complete phylogeny of the extant Carnivora (Mammalia)", "Sea Otter – Enhydra lutris – facts, video, and sound", "Otter Hunting AKA Otter Hunting Begins – British Pathé", "Fishing with Otters: a Traditional Conservation Practice in Bangladesh", "Native American Indian Otter Legends, Meaning and Symbolism from the Myths of Many Tribes",,, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Old English (ca.