Rivers and Streams Animals

Eurasian Otter
Eurasian Otter
Class: Mammalia: Mammals Diet: Fish, amphibians, birds, small mammals, other aquatic animals
Order: Carnivora: Carnivores
Size: 55 - 80 cm (21 1/2 - 31 1/2 in), tail: 30 - 50 cm (12 - 19 1/2 in)
Family: Mustelidae: Mustelids Conservation Status: Near threatened
Scientific Name: Lutra lutra Habitat: rivers, lakes, sheltered coasts
Range: Europe, North Africa, Asia

Size of Eurasian OtterAlthough agile on land, otters have become well adapted for an aquatic life. The Eurasian otter has the slim mustelid body, but its tail is thick, fleshy and muscular for propulsion in water. All four feet are webbed, and the nostrils and ears can be closed when the otter is in water. Its fur is short and dense and keeps the skin dry by trapping a layer of air around the body. An excellent swimmer and diver, the otter moves in water by strong undulations of its body and tail and strokes of its hind feet. It feeds on fish, frogs, water birds, voles and other aquatic creatures.  Otters are solitary, elusive creatures, now rare in much of their range. They den in a riverbank in a burrow called a holt and are most active at night. Even adult otters are playful animals and enjoy sliding down a muddy bank. A litter of 2 or 3 young is born in the spring -- or at any time of year in the south of the otter's range. There are 8 species of Lutra, all with more or less similar habits and adaptations.

Range of Eurasian Otter
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