Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.
World Otter Day was first established in 2014 by the International Otter Survival Fund and has taken place on the last Wednesday of May each year since. In 2022 this takes place on the 25th. Most of the thirteen species of otters are under some sort of threat. This is from loss of habitat, poaching, pet trade, pollution, pesticides, fish farms, disease Toxoplasma gondii, entanglement in nets, and climate change.
Otters need our attention. They are key indicators on the condition of our planet.
Some Otter Facts
- There are 13 species of otter.
- Otters are Mustelids...part of the weasel family.
- All otters are voracious feeders. Sea Otters will eat as much as 25% of their bodyweight each day.
- Sea Otters have the thickest fur of any animal. There can be as many as 600,000 to over 1,000,000 hairs per square inch.
- River Otters can weigh up to 30 lbs.
- Sea Otters can weigh up to 90 lbs.
- Otters are one of the few mammals that use tools. Others include the Apes and Elephants.
- I can vouch for the fact that Otters have a very painful bite.
- The only continents without endemic otters are Australia and Antarctica.
- Otters can swim at speeds of up to 7 mph.
- The word Otter appears frequently in UK place names i.e. Otter Holt, Otter Burn, there is even the River Otter in the county of Somerset.
- Otters appear in mythology in all countries in which they occur.
- Otter hunting was banned in the UK as late as 1981! In the five years leading up to 1963 over 1,000 otters were killed in hunts.
- There are a number of studbooks for captive otter species.
- Otters can smell underwater.
- In Bangladesh Otters are used by fishermen to hunt fish.