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Otter Species

Otters Around the World

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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.

World of Otters

Our interactive map of otter locations around the world.

The Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis)

SIZE 1.2m
WEIGHT 12kg 
DIET Fish (80%) - snakes, lizards, frogs, birds and mammals make up the rest
GESTATION 2 months
CUBS Unknown
HABITAT Mostly swamp forests
CITES Appendix I
THE THREAT TO THE SPECIES: Habitat destruction and water pollution.

The Neotropical Otter
Photo: Sanchez

This species is one of the most widespread in South America, ranging from Central and South America.  It is a medium sized otter and lives in a variety of habitats, from small forest streams and lakes, marshes and coastal savannah swamps.  It has also been reported to live in irrigation ditches among rice and sugar cane in Guyana. 

It feeds mainly on fish and crabs taking smaller species than the Giant Otter.  Preferred areas to build the holts were found on rocky shores, or in areas of deep vegetation along small rivers.  Little is known of its Ecology or distribution but work in Argentina has put the density at 0.8 otters per km along the coast, and here the otters lived a  diurnal  and solitary lifestyle. 

This otter has suffered from severe hunting throughout its range and is verging on extinction in many areas.

Distribution of the Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis)

Data based on Otters of the World (IOSF 2017) which is available at the Otter shop.