Image: Rhett A. Butler

Meet the otters

What is an otter? Otters are water-loving, playful, carnivorous mammals that live along rivers and coasts around the world, except for Oceania and the polar regions. Otters eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, and invertebrates. Otters are not only adorable, they are important! Otters help keep ecosystems healthy.

There are 13 species of otters. This map shows where they live:

Credit: IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group

otter status

Some species of otters are doing well in the wild, like the North American river otter. Other species are endangered, like the hairy-nosed otter, the giant river otter, and the sea otter.

Otter experts are hard at work!

The IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group is a group of experts who are studying and protecting otters and their habitats. Their website is a good resource to learn about otter species and their conservation status.

The digital book We Love Otters features facts about each species and testimonials from the scientists and conservationists who know them best. You can find more facts at the We Love Otters website.

otter book cover image

Visit OtterEd to access more awesome facts and activities for each species, like this mask:

Credit: IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group

What can you do to help otters?

  1. Learn about otters and threats to their survival, which include pollution, climate change, habitat change, the pet trade, and the fur trade
  2. Raise awareness and teach others about otters
  3. Support otter research and conservation programs

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Learning resources about otters

You don’t have to go far to access amazing otter facts, activities, and conservation programs. Check out some of these links:

Otter facts and conservation information:

More sea otter resources:

Did you know? Sea otters have the thickest fur of any mammal!

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