The Eurasian otter, the scientific name Lutra lutra, also referred to as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia. In this article, I am going to talk about Eurasian Otter habitat, food web, skull, facts, feet, poop, pups, food chain, face, standing, etc.
The most generally distributed member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), it’s discovered within the waterways and coasts of Europe, many components of Asia, and components of northern Africa.
The Eurasian otter has a diet primarily of fish and is strongly territorial. It is endangered in some components of its range, however, is recovering in others.
Eurasian Otter Profile
Member of the mustelid family. Long slender body, with a thick muscular tail. They have small ears on their broadheads, which barely sit above water after they’re swimming.
They even have webbed feet for this aquatic life. Their fur is brown, altering to a lighter cream on their undersides. Males are usually bigger and heavier than females.
One of the widest distribution of any northern mammal and the widest distribution of any otter species. Found readily throughout three continents; Europe, Asia, and Africa. Within its historic range, has suffered localized extinctions (comparable to in Switzerland).
Lutra lutra forage in water and nest on land. They inhabit rivers, lakes, streams, freshwater and peat swamp forests, ricefields, ocean shores, fjords, caves, and terrestrial habitats adjoining waterways.
Covered dens and dry resting sites are present in earth tunnels, tree roots, boulder piles, shrubs, and banks. In its territory of 1 to four miles, every river otter has fastened areas for moving into and out of the water, rolling, sunbathing, and sliding on “otter stairways”.
Inhabit any wetland habitat as long as there are ample meals provide comparable to rivers, streams, swamp forests, marshes, coastal areas, and lakes. Riverbank vegetation is vital for refuge, in addition to alternatives for creating holts (dens) within the bank comparable to tree roots and cavities within the bank.
Varied carnivorous diet, however as much as 80% of it may be fish. In addition to fish, different prey gadgets can embody any aquatic insect, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, birds, and crustaceans.
Lutra lutra has a steady breeding cycle and feminine otters have a steady estrus cycle. Mating can happen both in water or on land. The essential mating season is from February to March and July.
Gestation lasts 60 to 70 days and weaning happens at three months. Each feminine river otter often provides start to 2 or three cubs that are 99 to 122gm at birth.
The cubs’ eyes open after one month they usually start to go away from the nest after two months. The younger stick with their moms for as much as 14 months and attain sexual maturity after 2 or 3 years.
The Eurasian otter is essentially the most broadly distributed otter species, its range together with components of Asia and Africa, in addition to unfolding throughout Europe, south to Palestine.
Though at present believed to be extinct in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, they’re now quite common in Latvia, alongside the coast of Norway, within the western areas of Spain and Portugal, and throughout Great Britain, particularly Shetland, the place 12% of the UK breeding inhabitants exists.
Ireland’s otters are geographically widespread and believed to be essentially the most stable inhabitants in Europe. In Italy, they are often present in the southern parts of the peninsula.
The South Korean inhabitants are endangered. In India, the species is distributed within the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats, and the central Indian panorama.
Eurasian Otter Description
The Eurasian otter is a typical species of the otter subfamily. Brown above and cream under, these long, slender creatures are well-equipped for his or her aquatic habits.
Their bones present osteosclerosis, growing their density to scale back buoyancy. This otter differs from the North American river otter by its shorter neck, broader visage, the higher area between the ears, and its long tail.
However, the Eurasian otter is the one otter in a lot of its range, so it’s hardly ever confused for every other animal.
Normally, this species is 57 to 95 cm (22.5 to 37.5 in) long, not counting a tail of 35–45 cm (14–17.5 in). The feminine is shorter than the male.
The otter’s average body weight is 7 to 12 kg (15 to 26 lb), though sometimes a big old male could attain as much as 17 kg (37 lb). The record-sized specimen, reported by a dependable source however not verified, weighed over 24 kg (53 lb).
In common, their different and adaptable diets imply they might inhabit any unpolluted body of recent water, together with lakes, streams, rivers, canals, and ponds, as long because the meals provided are ample.
In Andalusia, the golf programs grew to become a part of their habitat. Eurasian otters can also reside alongside the coast, in saltwater, however require regular entry to recent water to scrub their fur.
When dwelling within the sea, people of this species are generally known as “sea otters”, however, they shouldn’t be confused with the true sea otter, a North Pacific species a lot more strongly tailored to a marine existence.
The extinct Japanese river otter is often thought-about a subspecies.
Lutra lutra people eat fish, crustaceans, clams, small mammals and amphibians, birds, eggs, bugs, worms, and a small quantity of vegetation. They use their vibrissae (whiskers) as sensing organs underwater to watch the actions of fishes and different prey. River otters hunt and feed a number of occasions a day, consuming about 1kg of meals day by day.
The Eurasian otter’s diet primarily consists of fish. Fish is their most well-liked selection of meals in the Mediterranean and temperate freshwater habitats.
During the winter and in colder environments, although, fish consumption is considerably decreased, and the otters use different sources of meals, together with amphibians, crustaceans, bugs, birds, and generally small mammals, together with younger beavers.
Eurasian Otter Behavior
Secretive, solitary, and largely nocturnal. Territorial by nature, people solely have a tendency to come back collectively to mate. Mothers with pups are the most typical social groupings of otters. Territories are marked by depositing faeces (spraints) in distinguished locations inside them.
River otters can dive for as much as two minutes underwater and are most energetic at nightfall and throughout the night.
Lutra lutra are mainly solitary animals with the solely short-term pairing of mates or moms with their younger, though they’re generally present in loosely knit teams of as much as six animals.
Otters are sometimes described as playful and have been noticed sliding down mudbanks or snowdrifts on their bellies. Both juvenile and adult L. lutra play, trot, gallop, slide, and chase one another in water. This behavior is believed to assist younger otters in good their looking strategies.
Lutra lutra are vocal, with fundamental calls of alarm, greeting, and mating in addition to as many as 12 different calls. The voice of L.lutra consists of quick, shrill whistling, yelps, whimpers, and high-pitched screams of misery.
River otters have paired scent glands on the base of their tail which give off a heavy, musky scent. Scent marking is a type of communication between otters concerning the territorial boundaries, identification, and sexual state of every otter. Otters not solely mark vegetation and logs with their scent however cover their fur as properly.
Eurasian Otter Reproduction
Eurasian otters are strongly territorial, dwelling alone for essentially the most half. A particular person’s territory could range between about 1 and 40 km (1–25 mi) long, with about 18 km (11 mi) being normal.
The size of the territory will depend on the density of meals accessible and the width of the water appropriate for looking (it’s shorter on coasts, the place the accessible width is far wider, and longer on narrower rivers). The Eurasian otter makes use of its feces, known as spraints, to mark its territory and prioritize using sources to different group members.
The territories are solely held towards members of the identical sex, so these of women and men could overlap. Mating takes place in water. Eurasian otters are nonseasonal breeders (women and men will breed at any time of the year) and it has been discovered that their mating season is most definitely decided just by the otters’ reproductive maturity and physiological state.
Female otters change into sexually mature between 18 and 24 months old and the average age of first breeding is discovered to be 2 1⁄2 years. Gestation for the Eurasian otter is 60–64 days, the litter weighing about 10% of the feminine body mass.
After the gestation interval, one to 4 pups are born, which stay depending on the mom for about 13 months. The male performs no direct position in parental care, though the territory of a feminine together with her pups is often completely inside that of the male.
Hunting primarily takes place at night, whereas the day is often spent within the Eurasian otter’s holt (den) – often a burrow or hole tree on the riverbank which might generally solely be entered from underwater.
Though long thought to hunt utilizing sight and contact solely, the evidence is rising that they might additionally be capable of scent underwater – probably in an analogous method to the star-nosed mole.
Eurasian Otter Threats
Habitat loss and degradation is a major risk to otters; the elimination of bank vegetation, dam development, drainage, and different aquaculture activities can have negative results on otter populations.
Pollution can also be a big contributor to their historic decline, particularly when coupled with habitat degradation. Organo-chlorine pesticides (DDT) and mercury are the main pollutions, and trigger the decline of fish inside lakes and rivers.
Due to this, otter food sources are diminished and otter populations decline. Hunting for furs and persecution from anglers have additionally all been contributors to native declines.
Eurasian Otter Conservation
It is listed as endangered in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand, and critically endangered in Mongolia. In South Korea, it’s listed as a Natural Monument and first-class endangered species.
The Eurasian otter declined throughout its range within the second half of the 20th century primarily resulting from air pollution from pesticides comparable to organochlorine and polychlorinated biphenyls. Other threats included habitat loss and looking, each authorized and unlawful.
Eurasian otter populations at the moment are recovering in lots of components of Europe. In the United Kingdom, the variety of sites with an otter presence elevated by 55% between 1994 and 2002.
In August 2011, the Environment Agency introduced that otters had returned to each county in England since vanishing from each county besides the West Country and components of Northern England.
Recovery is partly resulting from a ban on essentially the most dangerous pesticides that have been in place throughout Europe since 1979, partly to enhancements in water high quality resulting in will increase in prey populations, and partly to direct authorized safety beneath the European Union Habitats Directive and national laws in a number of European international locations. In Hong Kong, it’s a protected species beneath Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 170.
It is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.
Eurasian Otter Facts
There are 13 completely different species of otter all around the world, the biggest being from South America and reaching an average of 5ft in size!
Otter spraint aromas can range quite a bit and will not be at all times disagreeable (some people have described it as “freshly mown grass” and even “jasmine tea”).
A gaggle of otters is known as a “romp”.
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