Do otters eat fish?

In this article we are going to answer: do otters eat fish, what are otters, what otters eat, which animals eat otters, are otters bad for ponds or lakes, what is the relationship between otters and humans, and can otters be pets. 

Do otters eat fish?

Yes, otters do eat fish. Fish are one of the main sources of food for otters. Not all otters eat fish, especially the species that live far from large water lakes or ponds such as the Asian small-clawed otter. 

Otters do not have a favorite fish, as long as there are fish, they can eat them all. Otters usually eat about two to three pounds of fish per day because of their high metabolism. 

What are otters?

Otters are part of the scientific order Carnivora which includes all dog, cat, and bear families. In this order, raccoons are also included. Otters are also part of the family Mustelidae together with weasels, skunks, mink, and badgers. 

Otters are considered carnivorous mammals that can be semiaquatic, aquatic, or marine. Their carnivorous diet is based on fish and other animals. Male otters are known as dogs or boars while female otters are known as bitches or sows. 

They are characterized by having a very fast metabolic rate which makes them spend around 60% of their time hunting and only 40% of their time resting. Some species include

  • Eurasian otter
  • Hairy-nosed otter
  • Spotted-necked otter
  • Smooth-coated otter
  • North American river otter
  • Southern river otter
  • Neotropical river otter
  • Marine otter
  • Giant otter
  • African clawless otter
  • Asian small-clawed otter
  • Congo clawless otter
  • Sea otter

There are 4 species that are particularly at risk of extinction because of humans. These 4 species are

  • European otter: It is also known as the Eurasian otter and lives in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They are recovering since the 1980s and the most common cause of death is roadkill. 
  • North American river otter: It has been one of the most hunted animals by humans because of its fur. They are protected species. 
  • Sea otters: They are protected since 1911 by the Fur Seal Treaty. 
  • Giant otters: They live especially in the Amazon river basin and they are in danger because of mercury and toxins used in illegal alluvial gold mining. 

What do otters eat?

The otter that lives free and not in captivity often feeds themselves on fish and crustaceans. Some others also prey specifically on freshwater fish, mussels, crabs, crayfish, and frogs. While saltwater otters pre-selfish, sea urchins, and shrimps. 

The Asian short-clawed otter that lives far from water sources can also pray for birds and rodents. 

Which animals eat otters?

Otters can be eaten by a lot of natural predators such as bobcats, coyotes, wolves, bears, and foxes. Also, there are some water creatures that eat otters such as sea lions, orcas, white sharks, alligators, and crocodiles. 

The largest otter predator is humans because they are hunted for the illegal pet trade and fur trade. 

Are otters bad for ponds or lakes?

Yes, otters have been considered a risk for small ponds and lakes. Otters can cause structural damage and they are huge fish predators. They can finish with fish in small ponds because they need high quantities of food to keep them alive. 

Otters can quickly eliminate all fish in a small pond and can be considered at high risk for some fish species in small lakes. 

What is the relationship between otters and humans?

Otters and humans are not in a good relationship. Otters can be very aggressive to humans because of their natural behaviors. Also, humans have killed a lot of otter species because of hunting, chemicals, and road kill. 

Can otters be pets? 

No, otters as pets can be illegal in some countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, and Japan. Otters are very wild, aggressive, and active animals that need to be in their natural surroundings to keep them in a good mood. 

Otters that are kept in solitary can become more aggressive and destructive. Otters that are kept in captivity are a danger to any animal or human. 

Follow this link for more information about sea otters. 


This article answered do otters eat fish, what are otters, what otters eat, which animals eat otters, are otters bad for ponds or lakes, what is the relationship between otters and humans, and can otters be pets. 


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