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Do Otters Build Dams?

Do Otters Build Dams

No, otters do not build dams. However, the otters use abandoned dams from time to time. The otters also have hidden entrances underwater, which allows them to protect themselves against predators.

Otters have different types of shelters. Sometimes, they stay in hollow logs. An otter’s home is called a den or a holt, and one would be surprised that otters have a dedicated latrine that is away from their main den.

What is the difference between beavers and otters?

otter

An otter is a carnivorous animal that is long and athletic. It belongs to the subfamily Lutrinae. Right now, there are 13 living species of otter. Some are semi-aquatic, some are aquatic, and some are marine species.

The lutrinae is a branch of a bigger family of animals, the Mustelidae. This family includes weasels, badgers, and minks.

Otters are fast, and they are graceful swimmers. The best way to tell whether an animal is an otter is through its body. Otters are long and slender, plus they have rounded tails covered in short fur.

A beaver, on the other hand, is a type of rodent. Beavers have a large body; the body is much rounder than an otter. Beavers also have long incisors.

Related Article: What Eats Otters?

Where do otters live?

Neotropical river otter

Otters have a wide range, and they live in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. There are otters even in cold places like Alaska and Canada.

Otters live close to bodies of water. Usually, their dens are not more than a few hundred meters away from a body of water. Most species of otters depend heavily on water to find food.

As far as the bodies of water go, here are some of the most common environmentsfor otters:

  • Slow-moving rivers
  • Marshes
  • Swamps
  • Creeks in forests
  • Brackish water like estuaries
  • Coastal waters

Some otters, like the sea otters, live in the sea. They can spend almost their entire lives in the sea, but they do tend to rest on rocks.

What do otters do or build?

North American river otter

Otters are keystone species. They are critical to the function of an ecosystem. On the Pacific Coast, the sea otter is responsible for putting the sea urchin population under control.

As a result of this, the sea urchin allows kelp forests to thrive. In California, sea otters help in enhance seagrass beds.

River otters, on the other hand, are fearsome predators. As such, they put the population of other animals in check. Because of this, no invasive species thrive where otters are.

How do otters build their homes?

Otters typically live in abandoned shelters. The home on an otter is called a holt. It is an underground that they dig.

Sometimes, otters may live in rabbit holes or under trees. Like other animals live in dens where they give birth to their pups.

Once they find a suitable den, they use nesting materials to enhance their living conditions. They build underwater entrances, which are pretty much inaccessible by land animals.

These entrances are carefully selected and placed. Because of this strategy, otters have protection from other predators.

Do otters chew trees?

Spotted-Necked Otter

No, otters do not chew trees. The tooth of an otter is fit for killing but not for chewing trees. Otters are not beavers.

The tooth of an otter is like that of a cat’s. It can chew meat, but not they are not powerful enough to chew trees. Otters can chew small twigs, but they have no capacity to bring down a tree.

How do otters hunt?

Otters hunt by swimming and biting their prey. They have the ability todetect movements in the water, and some species hold the prey with their paws while eating.

When eating fish, they do so in the water. If they catch a large prey, the otters usually drag the prey to shore.

Otters are fast swimmers. They can dive up to 60 feet deep and then stay there for a while before coming back up for air. They can swim to speeds of seven miles per hour.

On average, the otter can stay underwater for four minutes. Some can stay underwater for eight minutes. Otters can also hunt in packs. When otters hunt as a group, they have enough power to bring down a caiman.

What do otters eat?

Eurasian Otter

Otters are not picky eaters, but they are carnivores, so they will only eat meat. Most of their diet is comprised of fish or anything that they can find in their habitat.

On some weird occasions, otters will even eat a monkey. There was an unfortunate event in the Bronx Zoo, where the sea otters have an enclosure that is separate from the monkeys.

However, there were trees in the enclosure, and some branches overlapped the enclosure of the otters. One monkey climbed that tree and fell into the enclosure of the otters.

From here, a raft (group of otters) of otters attacked the monkey. One monkey attempted to save the victim but failed.

Otters are also smart. If they want to eat a clamshell, they get rocks and pound on the clamshell. Some sea otters even try to crack a clamshell by banging it at the hull of a boat.

For reference, here are some of the common foods of otters:

  • Crustaceans
  • Fish
  • Mussels
  • Frogs
  • Shellfish
  • Sea urchins
  • Crabs
  • Shrimp

Not all otters live in bodies of water. For example, the Asian short-clawed otter lives in mountainous areas. Since there are no bodies of water there, they have a different diet.

The Asian otter eats ground-nesting birds. They also hunt rodents. Otters have a disproportionate diet and metabolism. They must eat 25% of their body weight every day.

Because of this, the otter must spend about 60% of its time hunting and eating. The rest of the time is spent resting.

Summary

Otters do not build dams. It is the beaver that does this. When an otter family lives in a dam, it is likely that some bevers built it and abandoned it. Otters live in dens underground, and their home is called a holt. Otters are pretty spread out in the world, and they live in places close to a body of water.

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