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5 Otterly Amazing Facts About Otters

July 28, 2017

With their adorable looks and their playful natures, it’s easy to see why everyone loves otters. But how much do you actually know about these wonderful aquatic mammals? Read on for five amazing facts about otters.

 

They Hold Hands When Sleeping

Adorable pictures aside, there is a good reason why sea otters hold hands during sleep. Otter mums hold hands with their pups during bedtime so that they don’t float away from each other.

Otter families will often hold hands when sleeping (and eating), and when they do this, the group is technically called ‘a raft’ of otters!

 

They’re Big Eaters

These utterly adorable creatures have big appetites and need plenty of food to keep up with their activities. Their high metabolic rate also requires a lot of food in order to help them maintain their body temperature.

Sea otters can eat up to 30% of their body weight in food daily! River otters need slightly less fuel for the day, and will usually consume between 15% and 20% of their body weight in food.

They’re Speedy Swimmers

European river otters can swim at speeds of 6 miles per hour thanks to their partially webbed paws and muscular tails. Otherwise known as freshwater otters, river otters will doggy-paddle using their front and rear paws when they floating or swimming at a more leisurely pace.

At high speeds, they swim by moving their bodies up and down in a wave-like motion, and they use their rear paws and tail to steer themselves.

 

They’re Great Divers

Otters can remain underwater for up to four minutes and will dive down to depths of 300 feet when they’re searching for food. Their webbed feet help to propel them to great depths in short amounts of time, and they can close their nostrils and ears to stop water from getting into them.

Like most diving mammals, otters have oxygen-binding protein in their muscles, which is called myoglobin. This protein allows them to store more oxygen, which they can then draw on whilst underwater.

 

They Love to Play

Not only do otters look adorable but they also love to play. Freshwater otters will often build themselves slides on riverbanks (or on snow in colder climates). Although scientists have many different theories about why otters engage in this type of play, the most commonly agreed theory is that they simply do it for fun – and to strengthen social bonding.

 

Come and Visit the Otters

Now that you’re an expert on all things otter-related, why not come down to our indoor freshwater otter enclosure at Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth and see these playful creatures in the flesh. Buy online for discounted entry, and get up close and personal with our Asian otters during our daily talks and feeds.