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How to Care for Otters

Updated April 17, 2017

While the vast majority of the population is ill-suited to keep otters as pets, you can do it. Otters, unlike dogs and cats, haven't been bred as companions. This can prove troubling when you mistake their cute appearance for a cuddly pet. Remember, otters are wild animals, not house pets. That said, with some training, they can make remarkable companions.

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  1. Move your otter to a body of water to exercise and play in. A lake, pond, slow-to-medium-speed river, or a pool are all excellent choices.

  2. Create a den for your otter out of a brush pile, hollow tree, or the dwelling of another animal. Otters prefer cosy structures that are slightly bigger than they are. Line the structure with moss, leaves or grass.

  3. Search for the correct food. Although you can feed your otter a diet consisting of anything from dried fish to crustaceans, they need to hunt to avoid weight issues and social disorders. The otter enjoys hunting fish, crab, shrimp, insects, bird eggs, and even amphibians.

  4. Bring in other otters. Otters are social creatures, so it's ideal to allow at least two otters per habitat. Otters, much like humans, enjoy companions to share their day with, and will develop anxiety, depression, or other social issues without proper companionship.

  5. Take steps to keep your otters safe. A fence or a moat are your best bets. Otters are very vulnerable to wolves, foxes, coyotes, and big cats. You're going to want to keep other animals out of your otter environment.

  6. Warning

    Never keep otters if you live in a city or the suburbs. Otters need a rural environment, as noise and pollution are detrimental to their health.

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Things You'll Need

  • Watering hole
  • Food
  • Toys
  • Den

About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.

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