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Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.
See the fact file below for more information on the otters or alternatively, you can download our 18-page Otter worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Otters have long, slim bodies and relatively short limbs. Their most striking anatomical features are the powerful webbed feet used to swim and their seal-like abilities to hold their breath underwater. Most have sharp claws on their feet except for the sea otter that have long, muscular tails.
- 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.
- The Asian small clawed otter is the smallest otter species and the giant otter and sea otter are the largest.
- Otters are found almost all over the world and in many wet habitats, such as freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines, and marshes.
- Most otters live in dens built by other animals, such as beavers that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. The sea otter, however, rarely comes ashore, according to the San Diego Zoo.
- Sea Otters are found in two areas: the Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, and along the central California coast. They live in offshore forests of giant kelp, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). They eat, rest, and groom themselves on the water’s surface.
- Otters are very social creatures. A group of otters is called a raft, according to the San Diego Zoo. They are also nocturnal and hunt at night.
- They also love to play. They like to slide off embankments into the water, wrestle, chase their tails, and participate in other fun games. They are also very curious and like to investigate new things.
- Otters are carnivores. Sea otters eat a wide range of marine animals including mussels, clams, urchins, abalone, crabs, snails, and about 40 other marine species, equaling approximately 25 percent of their weight in food each day, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
- River otters eat mostly frogs, crabs, crayfish, fish, and mollusks. They also eat small mammals and birds.
- A female otter has a gestation period of two months for smaller species and five months for sea otters. It will give birth to one to five offspring, though usually, only two babies are born at once. Sea otters give birth in water while other otters give birth in dens.
- Otter babies are called pups. They are born weighing only 4.5 ounces (128 grams) for smaller species and 5 lbs (2.3 kg) for sea otters. Pups have sealed eyes that open at around 1 month old. At 2 months, pups start to swim.
- At 1 year of age, pups leave their mother. By 2 to 5 years old they will be ready to make their own pups. Otters live to around 12 years old in the wild, and longer in captivity.
- Most otter species are near threatened, vulnerable, or endangered, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Otter Specialist Group.
- Populations of all otters are decreasing, except for the North American river otter, which is listed as stable and of “least concern” for extinction.
SPECIES OF OTTER
- Subfamily Lutrinae (otters). 13 species in 7 genera are found on all continents except Antarctica. Lutrinae is a subfamily of Mustelidae.
- Genus Lontra (river otters). 4 species are found in the Americas.
- Genus Lutra. 3 species are found in Africa and Eurasia.
- Genus Aonyx. 2 species are found in sub-Saharan Africa and in South and Southeast Asia.
- Genus Hydrictis (speckle-throated otter). 1 species is found in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Genus Enhydra (sea otter). 1 species is found in North America.
- Genus Lutrogale (smooth-coated otter). 1 species is found in Southern Asia.
- Genus Pteronura (giant otter). 1 species is found in South America.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about otters across 18 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Otter worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the otters which are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Otter Facts
- Otter Fact File
- Otter Fun Facts
- Species of Otter
- My Way Home
- Keep Us Posted
- My Otter Vocabulary
- Slogan Making
- A Visit to the Zoo
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Link will appear as Otter Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 1, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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