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Where do Otters Live

Otters are semiaquatic or aquatic animals that belong to the family Mustelidae, which means they are related to animals such as weasels, wolverines and badgers. There are 13 species of otters and they range from 0.5 m to 1.8 m (2-6 ft) in length and from 1 to 45 kg (2.2-100 lbs) in weight. The species are found in different areas and they are distributed throughout different parts of the world. Their high metabolic rate and special inner and outer fur means that most otters are best suited for cool or cold water climates. Let’s find out more about the distribution, range and habitat of the otter species.

Where do otters live?
An otter at the zoo.

  • European otter – As the name suggests this species is found in Europe and extends across parts of Asia and North Africa.
  • North American river otter – This species is found throughout much of Canada and parts of the United States.
  • Sea otter – This species lives on the Pacific coast of the North American continent.
  • Giant Otter – This species is found throughout the Amazon River basin in South America.
  • Southern river otter – Is found in the marine and freshwater environments of southern Chile and Argentina.
  • Neotropical otter – As the name suggests this is one of the species that lives in warm environments. It is found throughout much of Central America, South America and in some parts of the Caribbean.
  • Marine otter – Is found on the coastal fringes in the western parts of South America. There have been sightings as far east as the Falkland Islands.
  • Smooth-coated otter – Is mostly restricted to the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia.
  • Spotted-necked otter – Is found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Hairy-nosed otter – This species of otter is one of the rarest on earth and it was once thought to have been extinct. However, small populations have been found in southeast Asia.
  • African clawless otter – this species is found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa with the exception of the Congo River basin and some arid areas.
  • Oriental (Asian) small-clawed otter – Is found in the coastal regions from India to South China and Southeast Asia.
  • The following is a map showing the range of all species of otters:
    A map showing the range of otters.

Most otters spend their life in or near water. This includes coastal environments, rivers, lakes and various other aquatic environments. These environments are rich with fish, which makes up the majority of their diet.

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