Otter Natural Predators
Otters may look like cuddly creatures but they can also be very defensive when they feel that they are their offspring are in danger. Of course Otters aren’t the most powerful animals out there which is why they often find safety in numbers. Humans are the biggest predator of the Otter. Some of the species have been hunted until their numbers were drastically low.
Humans have changed the ways in which the hunt Otters over the years. First it was arrows and homemade weapons. Then guns and traps emerged during the height of the slaughter of them. Today traps are still the number one method used for hunting Otters.
Some hunt Otters for the thrill of the kill. Commercial fishermen don’t like their daily catch to be reduced due to the Otters. Therefore they will trap them and kill them so they can’t consume the fish. Sometimes they accidentally get caught in the nets though that the fisherman place into the water.
There are several other predators that the Otter has to worry about as well. Some of them are on land while others will try to feed on them in the water. On land they have to be careful about coyotes. Eagles can be a problem too for the smaller Otters and the young. Sea lions are a problem in some areas as well. In the water they need to watch out for both sharks and killer whales.
The predators that Otters will encounter depend on where they happen to live. For example the Alaskan Otter is protected so humans aren’t really a treat to it. The only predator that they have to worry about is the killer whale. However, these whales find Otters to be a great meal. Approximately 40,000 of them are consumed annually in this area.
In California thousands of them are consumed annually by White Sharks. However, the number of them being killed isn’t nearly the same volume as what takes place in Alaska. One of the problems though is that as the other foods sources for sharks and whales continue to be depleted, they are going to eat what is readily available. By the same token Otters may be going further out into the water to find their own foods. This makes them a prime target for predators that they simply can’t win against.
Otters that live near swamps may become food for alligators and crocodiles. Bobcats have become more of a problem too due to the increased numbers of them in the wild. The future for Otters though is really going to depend on the balance when it comes to the predators they have. Humans can control their desires to remove them for their own personal satisfaction.
Since Otters aren’t used for meat, there is no reason that humans must kill them to survive. The delicate balance of the food chain out there is important because, as I explained in my examples, when one predator can’t get its normal food sources it will turn to others. This rippling effect has a profound effect on the future for the Otter and many other animals.
It is also important to understand that otters have a healthy role in the overall ecosystems out there. Without them some type of predators would end up not having enough food. Other types of food that the Otters consume though may end up being overpopulated. That will likely lead them to starvation in order to get the numbers back in balance.