If you want to learn everything about the Eurasian otters or Lutra Lutra, then don´t miss this opportunity.
The Eurasian otters or European otters are also known as Otter Palaearctic, although their scientific name is Lutra Lutra. This is a carnivorous mammal animal that belongs to the mustelidae family which ives in the aquatic environment, specifically in the fresh waters of the European continent as its name implies. We invite you to read our article Sea otters to learn about others species of otters
Table Of Content
Main Characteristics of the Eurasian Otters ☑️
The Eurasian otters have an elongated body, supported with small and short legs. Their skull is elongated and their snout crushed. As for their size, the Eurasian otters reach up to 69 centimeters in length, of which about 42 centimeters correspond to their tail. On the other hand they weight around 11 kilograms.
The fur of the European otters has brown hues, and is made up hairs short in size.
This species is easy to recognize as they usually have a white spot on their throat and all the lower body to the belly area, and also by the membranes that are located between the fingers of their limbs, both front and back.
Eurasian otters differ from others, due to their thick and robust bodies and also because of their slightly lighter coat.
Moreover, these otters swim with their body completely immersed, while their head remains outside the water.
They carry out this swim through fast movements, since they usually dive only for a maximum of 40 seconds. The Male Eurasian otters tend to be bigger than females.
Their denture consist of 36 teeth, having 6 incisors, 2 fangs, 8 bicuspids and 2 molars in the upper jaw, and 2 premolars less in the lower one. If an otter bites a chicken breast, the distance between the holes produced by the upper fangs would be 2 cm. Otters usually live between eight and fifteen years.
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How Eurasian Otters Feed On? ☑️
These otters feed mainly on crustaceans, some fish and reptiles like frogs. This species is also known as «water cat» since they have the habit of playing with their prey before consuming them as food.
Common Behavior of The Eurasian Otters ☑️
These creatures usually move through jumps, in which they contract most of their body to compensate for the effect of their small paws.
In addition to living in lakes, these animals also seek refuges between caves and rocks and in some cases they create a sort of slides with materials from their habitats, such as mud and branches to facilitate their access to water.
On the other hand, the Eurasian otters are considered one of the most territorial species in the whole mustelidae family, since they tend to protect an area that covers approximately 25 kilometers wide. During day these otters remain calm with a passive behavior, and it is at night when they hunt their prey, spending even up to six hours looking for food.
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Eurasian Otters’ Habitat and Distribution ☑️
Their preferred habitat is located on the banks of rivers bordered by forests, with thick vegetation or stone walls. They also like crystal clear waters with stony bottoms. The male’s territory can cover about 15 km of river, crossing it every 3 or 4 nights.That of the female is smaller, occupying about 7 km. They don’t allow any other animal to hunt within their territory not even their congeners.
Their burrows are usually located at the edge of the water, taking advantage of natural caves, abandoned burrows, between the undergrowth of the islets of the rivers, etc. and have an opening to keep their nest ventilated.
The soil of the nest is usually made up dry grass, or with moss and leaves. Outside the breeding period, the Eurasian otters don´t have fixed locations, using various temporary shelters to rest or spend a few nights.
Their breeding nest is usually placed in lateral streams, protected from a possible flood of the river. The presence of otters in a river, is the best sign that we have about the good state of a river channel. Unfortunately, the rivers’ pollution due to various factors, is causing the population of this animal to decrease year after year.
This species is protected by the CITES International Convention, which has classified it as in imminent risk of extinction because of its trade, for what explicitly prohibits such practice. The species is distributed mainly in the European continent, although they can also be found in fresh waters of the Asian continent and some areas of Africa.
Eurasian Otters: Reproduction ☑️
Their heat period can take place at any time of the year. Their behavior change at this time, since they become more diurnal, forgetting the daily precautions and the males emit sonorous whistles at night.
During this period, the couple of otters is always together, and begins the games that precede copulation, in which they chase each other in the water and then copulate whistling loudly. After intercourse, they have a gestation period of approximately 9 weeks. The birth can take place in any month, but in spring or at the beginning of summer it is when the bigger number of them takes place, and within this period, May is the most frequent month.
Normally 2 or 3 puppies are born, although there may be some litter of up to 6 pups.
At birth the pups have their eyes closed and will not open them until after 4 or 5 weeks. When the small otters complete 7 weeks, they will venture out of the lair for the first time, and at 10 weeks, they will play confidently around.
The mother will teach them to swim by carrying them on their back to the middle of the river’s bed, and leaving them there to return to the shore alone. They will continue to suckle until they reach 14 weeks, and when the puppies are 6 or 8 months old, they will leave the mother to start an independent life.
It always worth to watch them