Otter Anatomy

Otter Anatomy

Otter Physical Characteristics

The anatomy of an Otter is designed to allow it to get around well both on land and in the water. They feature bodies that are very long and they are slim as well. They have short limbs and webs at the end of the paws. The feet have extremely sharp claws. The long tail is a powerful weapon too as it is actually a muscle. With some species it can be up to a foot in length. This tail is also how they steer their bodies through the water.

The webbed feet make it possible for Otters to move very easily and quickly through the water. Each foot features five toes that also help with balance. It also makes it easy to climb out of the water and onto the land without slipping and sliding. They have small heads with small eyes set far into them. They also have visible ears. Otters are able to both see and hear very well.

The nose is black and quite large on the small face of an Otter. They have extremely good senses when it comes to smelling. It is believed that the can smell their prey as well as danger. Some research also shows that Otters have a preference for foods that they hunt for based upon smell.

You will also notice that they have long whiskers. These whiskers help them to pick up vibrations that come from their prey. They also use their eyesight and their sense of touch to be able to find prey. They tend to rely upon their whiskers more though when they hunt at night or when they water is murky.

Since Otters are meat eaters it is natural that they have a mouth full of very sharp teeth. A full grown Otter will have 32 of them. The majority of them are classified as molars. All of the species except the Sea Otter feature three pairs of powerful incisors. The Sea Otter has two pairs of them. They don’t use their teeth to tear food though like many other animals do. Instead they use them to crush and to grind the food.

Otter Physical Characteristics

Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea) Anatomy

They have fur that is very long but that is only the top coat of it. Underneath they have a shorter coat of it that helps to keep their skin dry. This is why they are able to live in water that can get very cold. They also have a very fast metabolism that plays a role in keeping them warm as well.

This fur is about ¾ of an inch thick. It is also very loose which is one of the main reasons why the Otter has been hunted for it. The pelts that come from them are much longer than the actual length of the animal. In fact, they can be twice as long as what you see when you look at an Otter.

Otters range in color from a very light brown to very dark shades of brown. It is common for them to be light when they are born but then to get darker as they get older. Some species have a coloring that is almost black as well. As they get older they can have coloring of white or silver just like the color of hair for humans can change to silver or gray as they get older.

Otters are very small in size, no more than 2 or 6 feet in length. It will depend on the species of Otter. They can weigh from 3 pounds up to 100 pounds.