Linzey, Donald W. Wytheville Community College, Wytheville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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- General morphology
- Habits and reproduction
- Sea otters
- Other otter species
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Any of various carnivorous mammalian members of the family Mustelidae having a long thin body, short legs, a somewhat flattened head, webbed toes, and a broad flattened tail, as well as being adapted to aquatic life. Otters (Fig. 1) belong to the mammalian family Mustelidae (order Carnivora), which also includes weasels, minks, ferrets, martens, sables, fishers, badgers, and wolverines. Otters are found worldwide, except for Australia, Madagascar, and the islands of the South Pacific. Most otters inhabit freshwater lakes and rivers. However, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) inhabits the waters and shores of the northern Pacific Ocean from southern California to the Kuril Islands (which are claimed by Russia). See also: Badger; Carnivora; Ferret; Fisher; Mammalia; Marten; Mink; Sable; Weasel; Wolverine
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