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Saukko - Ähtäri Zoo

Eurasian otter

Lutra lutra

Familiar to many, the Eurasian otter has quite a modest population in Finland. The otter is an animal that could be studied much more. Most people picture a happy snack eater that feasts on fish and crayfish and leaves the remaining bits as a sign of its lunch. During the winter, otters sometimes travel long distances on land. The Eurasian otter is very close to being classified as a vulnerable species.

Playing in the water

Otters are well-adapted to life in the water. Their base layer of hair prevents water from reaching their skin, and instead there is a layer of air between the skin and the hair. The otter’s long whiskers help them find food and spot obstacles. Interestingly, the otter’s nose and ears close up when it dives underwater. To further help the otter’s water fun, the animal has webbed feet, and its rocket-shaped body makes swimming easier.

Playing in the snow

The Eurasian otter is one of those animals that like to play “for fun” even when they are fully grown. With most animals, only the young play around and learn about life and the skills needed at the same time. In the wintertime, otters slide down riverbanks for fun, while simultaneously marking their territory with their scent.

Conservation status

NT stands for “near threatened”. The species is close to being placed in a more serious category, and it is likely that its status will get worse in the near future.

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