Otters are simply one of the most adorable animals in North America. Everyone loves a cute otter animated gif, but why don’t we mix in some otter trivia to keep things interesting?
8) A group of otters is called a “romp”
That’s right, a romp. I wonder how they got that name?
7) Otter paws have remarkable dexterity
Otters use tools, and employ their dextrous hands to open shellfish. They can also be trained to perform various feats of agility, such as slam dunks.
6) Otters can swim at two months old
You wouldn’t dip a human two-month-old baby in water and expect them to swim, but by this age, otters are completely mobile.
5) Otters can stand upright for extended periods
Otters may prefer to scoot around on all fours, but they are very capable of standing upright, seemingly for as long as they want. Maybe they just like performing impressions of prairie dogs.
4) They’re dry under there
Otters may look permanently soaked, but their remarkable fur, which grows in a density of 26,000 to 165,000 hairs per square centimetre of skin keeps them cozy. They keep their underfur dry by blowing into the fur with their mouths to puff it up.
3) River otters spend most of their time on land
We associate otters with living in the water, but this is probably because of the sea otter, which lives a mostly aquatic life. A river otter, however, spends much of its time on land, as too much time in the drink can eventually soak their underfur.
2) Otters use tools to play!
A lot of animals can use tools, including some birds, like the crow. And so does the otter, often carrying a rock in a pouch under their forearm which can be used to smash open shellfish. But otters take it to the next level, and will sometimes engage in “tool” use for the purpose of play. In this case, a rock seems to be a nice fill-in for a ball.
1) Otters hold hands so they don’t drift away
There’s no doubt about it, the sight of two otters sleeping in the water with their arms linked is uncontrollably adorable. Sadly, this romantic formation is not necessarily indicative of a loving relationship, but a more pragmatic approach to keep from drifting away. When other otters aren’t available, they’ve been known to wrap themselves in seaweed to stay anchored.
While we know that otters holding hands aren’t necessarily in love, it’s still fun to pretend, like in this otter love song music video: