Monday, June 6, 2011

Eurasian Otter

Lutra lutra
The Eurasian Otter is also frequently referred to as the Common Otter. They have a pretty large range that spans across Europe and Asia, and they can be found near all sorts of waterways, including areas of both salt and fresh water.

Eurasian Otters do almost all of their feeding in the water. They have webbed paws to help them swim, as well as the ability to dive for up to two minutes at a time. While in the water their whiskers serve as sensory devices, alerting them to the movement of fish and other animals. They eat a huge variety of creatures, including birds, crustaceans, fish, clams, and insects. A single Eurasian Otter can eat 15% of its body weight each day!
Adult Otter

Juvenile Otters are incredibly social and love to play, slipping and sliding down river banks and chasing and wrestling. Their playtime also serves the purpose to teaching them how to hone their hunting techniques. Mother Otters also help their offspring to hunt by catching and releasing fish for their young to go after.

As adults the Eurasian Otters are less social; most live alone and live in groups only when mating or when a  mother is raising their young.

As a whole, the species has a very large range. However, water pollution has caused local extinctions in some areas of Western Europe. Bycatching from fishing and hunting have also hurt the Eurasian Otter populations.

IUCN Status :  Near Threatened
Location : Europe, Asia, parts of the United Kingdom
Size : Body length up to 27in (70cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Mustelidae -- Subfamily : Lutrinae -- Genus : Lutra -- Species : L. lutra

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