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About Otters

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Why are Otters so important?

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Otter Species

Otters Around the World

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The Mustelid Family

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African Otters

Asian Otters

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.

Southern River Otter (Lontra provocax)

SIZE 1 - 1.2 m
WEIGHT up to 9kg
DIET Mainly fish, crustaceans and molluscs
CUBS 1-6
HABITAT Lakes, rivers, rainforest, marshes and marine coastline
CITES Appendix I

Photo: Jose Luis Bartheld

Southern river otters are also known as the “huillin” and they have the smallest geographical range of all the otters, being found only in the southern parts of Chile and western Argentina and in particular the humid forests of Patagonia. They live mainly in freshwater (rivers, lakes and lagoons within dense forests) although in Chile they do also feed in the marine environment.

The diet consists mainly of crustaceans and their teeth are well adapted for crushing the hard shells. However, they will also take fish, molluscs, birds amphibians.

They are mainly nocturnal and live a solitary life, only coming together to breed in July and August. Normally they have just two cubs although they can have as many as four. They stay with their mother for just over a year.

We are grateful to Juan Pablo Mora for permission to share this video of the “huillin” taken in the wild in Chile.

Distribution of the Southern River Otter (Lontra provocax)

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