Otters are one of the most interesting mammals on our planet. These cute animals belong to the Weasel family. According to official records, there are 13 different species of otters that live almost on every continent.
When it comes to the lifespan of these animals, we must say that there is no exact answer to the question “How long do otters live?” However, according to many experts who have worked with these animals, their average lifespan is around 10 years. Yet, there is information that they can reach 20 years when they are n captivity.
How long do otters live?
How long do otters live in the wild?
The North American river otters can live for 8-9 years in the wild. Due to their beautiful pelt, otters are often targeted by hunters and this is the reason why many countries have passed laws that protect these animals. Still, the fact is that their number is dropping because of illegal hunting.
There are many different factors that affect the longevity of otters. For example, as we already said there are different species. Some say that the sea otter lives longer than other otters. The lifespan of other species like the giant river otter or the European otter is more or less the same.
Otters that live in nature can live even longer if it wasn’t for the construction activity expansion by humans. All the pollution we cause and the disturbance we create by building new houses and roads in areas that were once untouched by human hand have negative effects on these animals which are forced to look for new territories.
Even though otters have proven to be adaptable animals, many of them can’t make quick changes and lose their lives. Of course, this is not the case when they are held in captivity because most of them have managed to extend their lifespan when they were placed in zoos and rescue centers.
How long do otters live in captivity?
The North American river otters can live for up to 21-25 years in captivity. They can also reach 25 years of age in captivity. Otters are not kept as pets because they need special conditions to live a healthy life, but there are many otters that live in captivity (in research centers, zoos etc.).
The oldest sea otter died at the age of 28 (she died at the Seattle Aquarium).
Where do otters live?
Otters cannot be kept as pets because they require specific conditions for longevity. Otters are adorable animals and they can live both in the land and in the river. Their main habitat is on the land near to water bodies. Sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean while giant otters live in the tropical rain forests of South America.
What do otters eat?
Otters are real carnivores. Another thing that is important when it comes to their health and wellbeing is the food they consume. If the otter gets all the right nutrients, they should live longer.
The natural diet of these animals includes frogs, fish, birds, rabbits and eels. In order to stay healthy, they need to consume up to ¼ of their own body weight. This is the reason why otters are so active and spend several hours a day hunting.
How much do otters measure?
The giant otter is the longest otter measuring approximately 7 feet from nose to tail.
How much do otters weigh?
The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter which weighs around 10 pounds. The giant otter, which is the longest otter, weighs around 85 pounds. The biggest male sea otter can weigh up to 100 pounds.
Otters reproduction and life cycle
Female otters reach their sexual maturity at the age of 3 years while their male counterparts are mature at the age of 5-6 years. Mating and breeding do not occur in the sea. Mating season is all-year round. Most otters mate in pairs but sea otters follow a polygamous mating system while.
Otter’s gestation period is 6-8 months. They give birth to one pup but sea otters can give birth to twins. Otter’s reproduction is affected by factors like weather, nutrition and the location.
At the age of 7 years, otters can breed successfully. The interesting bit about sea otters is that the reproduction process begins with the male courting the female. Mating takes place between 15-30 minutes.
Facts about otters
Otters and play
Otters are known to be very lively animals and they love playing so much. Their passion for climbing and running is incomparable. Otters are very social and they spend more time with each other.
Otters are dangerous to handle
Otters are friendly looking creatures and are not a threat to human but once provoked, they can bite and fight you back with their tails. Be warned! Otters are considered to be some of the toughest creatures on earth.
Otters and intelligence
It is quite amazing how otters manage to create tools from various items in their surrounding and use these tools for protection and to crack shells of clams and crabs to consume food. Interestingly, otters are smart planners. They store their small tools in the loose skin under the forelimbs.