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Otter Species

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The Mustelid Family

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Otter-like animals have inhabited the earth for the last 30 million years and over the years have undergone subtle changes to the carnivore bodies to exploit the rich aquatic environment.

Otters are members of the Mustelid family which includes badgers, polecats, martens, weasels, stoats and mink.

You can find out more about each of the 13 species below and check out their current conservation status in the Red Data List.

You can find out more about each species in “Otters of the World” available at the Ottershop.

The Marine Otter (Lontra felina)

SIZE 0.87 –1.15 m
WEIGHT 5kg 
DIET Rock fish 30%, Crustaceans 40%, Molluscs 20% and other 10%. 

The diet of the Sea Cat is varied but they rely largely on crabs, mollusks and bottom living organisms, although on some occasions they will enter rivers in search of freshwater prawns. The feeding activity seems largely to occur late morning and afternoon although much research is still needed on the nocturnal activities of this species.
GESTATION 9 weeks.
Gestation period lasts somewhere between 60 and 120 days with young born in autumn and winter.
OFFSPRING Normal litter size is two although a four to five has been quoted for populations in the Magallanes area. 
BREEDING Breeding at Chiloe Island occurs in the summer with mating observed from December to January.
HABITAT: Chile: Threatened
Peru:Small isolated populations
CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered Click here
THE THREAT TO THE SPECIES: Illegal poaching for furs and pelts, habitat destruction.

The main threats to this endangered species used to be hunting and trapping for fur. The Red Data Book recorded that by 1968 the Sea Cat had been virtually exterminated from Cape Horn to Southern Tierra del Fuego. In Chile it was otter of the most prized mammals to be hunted but today it has the full protection of the Chilean government. However in Chile, Argentina and Peru illegal poaching for the domestic market still goes on and habitat destruction and water pollution pose and even greater threat.

Distribution of the Marine Otter (Lontra felina)

Data based on Otters of the World (IOSF 2015)

Distribution