There are 13 aquatic or amphibious mammal family groups that are considered Otter species and belong to the subfamily of Lutrinae. These mammals are carnivorous, feed on shellfish, fish, and some small mammals, and are related to weasels.
These animals aren’t known as the best pets, as they will destroy everything they can get their little paws on, searching through every square inch of your house. They are actually known as the “ferrets on crack”, which is a pretty funny way of explaining their behavior in captivity.
Asian clawed otters are the otter species most often adopted as a pet.
How much does a pet otter cost?
A pet otter will usually cost somewhere between $3,000 and $5,500, as long as owning an otter as a pet is legal in your state. This means that before you go looking for adoption options, you should first check your local laws just to confirm that owning one is legal in your area.
States Where Pet Otters Are Possibly Legal
|North Carolina||Nevada||New York|
Where Can I Buy a Pet Otter?
If you’re set on getting a baby otter, then one of the biggest obstacles you will face is finding a seller.
As these are some very uncommon aquatic creatures, you might have to contact a broker that can find breeders or people that import otters. Considering that this mammal has a vulnerable status as an endangered species in the wild, importing one directly from the wild might be ethically questionable, which is why most brokers will turn you down.
What are the additional costs?
When in captivity, otters should be fed with reduced pH cat food, although in the wild they are known to prey on live crayfish. They are known to eat around 20% of their body weight daily. You will likely spend somewhere around $50 to $90 on their food alone each month. You will also have to supplement their food with vitamin supplements on a weekly basis.
You will also have to consider the cost of a cage, something necessary when adopting a wild animal as a pet, especially one that is known to damage things around the home. One otter will need a space of around 5 to 7 feet at the very least.
The space should also include items that imitate their natural habitat, like a shallow fish pond. It would be better if you can set this type of habitat outdoors and equip it with a fence. This fence has to be fixed into the ground because these exotic pets are known for trying to escape.
You will have to also provide the habitat with artificial warmth if you don’t live in a warm climate, to make the ambiance as comfortable as possible. It is used to temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you keep an otter in captivity, you also have to provide it with entertainment, to prevent it from getting bored. Otter play with all kinds of toys, like balls and Frisbees. Depending on the pet’s individual personality, it isn’t unlikely for it to pick some toys it likes more and protect them.
Routine vet visits and surprise health problems are a part of living with an otter, so you should budget for vet expenses. It will likely be pretty hard to find local veterinarians that have the necessary knowledge to consult and treat otters, as they are considered exotic pets, which means that treatments might be more expensive than in the case of normal pets like cats or dogs.
Depending on your state of residence, you might be required to get a license to own this pet. This is likely to cost somewhere between $25 and $75+ per year. This license will enable you to own this exotic pet, but you will have to renew it on a yearly basis.
This isn’t an easy-to-find pet. This means that you might have a hard time finding one to adopt and you might even have to get one from another state or even another country. This translates into shipping fees.
Important things to consider
All of the 13 extant sea species of otters are either aquatic or semi-aquatic. Their diet is made of fish and invertebrates they find in water. Otters are known to have short limbs with webbed paws, as well as slim, long bodies.
Wild otters often have sharp claws on their feet. Most otter types have long and muscular tails, except for the sea otter. The adult size of these thirteen species varies from 2 to about 6 feet in length, while their weight is somewhere between 2 and 100 pounds.
An otter has an average lifespan between 10 and 12 years, although there are specimens known to have lived to the age of 25 years.
Quite a few wildlife specialists consider otters to have rather playful personalities. During observations in their natural habitats, otters have been shown to have slid down snow-covered slopes repeatedly, pleasure being their only apparent reason for this activity.
Although not verified in the wild, in captivity, some river otter species are known to be monogamous.
Sea otters are coastal, shallow water-dwellers. Their environments include two areas in these waters – the ocean flooring where otters find their food, and the ocean surface area where they feed, groom, and rest, and also where social communications take place. The remaining 12 otter types are generally categorized together as being river otters. All 12 have long, powerful tails that are lacking in the marine type.
All otter varieties have high metabolic rates, meaning that they must consume food regularly to preserve body temperature and also function in the water. Most varieties consume around 15% to 25% of their body weight each day. Unlike sea otters, which stay in the ocean almost regularly, river otters are most likely to remain close to land.
Because otters smear their droppings to mark their territory, this can cause a faint smell, which is generally unpleasant to most people.
Otters are sociable animals that can float and live in family groups composed of less than 10 individuals to over 100, referred to as plethoras. Usually, the groups are divided by gender; females, as well as their pups, hang out in one group, while males can be seen in another group. Typically, otters swim over their backs, yet while traveling over longer distances, they are known to swim on their stomachs.
Otters will only feed while floating, yet they may also rest, groom, and also nurse young ones. It’s also usual for otters to cover themselves in kelp beds when resting or relaxing. Otters live in seas and also rivers throughout the world and are very liked for their charming looks and abilities. Puppies live with their family for about one year.
Where can you find an otter to buy? have new listings every now and then; however, it’s pretty unusual.
Is it legal to own an otter?
In the United States, from what we investigated, it should be legal to own an otter in Nevada, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Tennesse, New York, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. There are a variety of regulations in regards to “exotic” animals in each state, so it’s hard to say for sure if an otter is legal where you live. To know for sure, refer to your state’s Department of Fish and Game to know without a doubt.
With this being said, many states will surely prohibit the ownership of the river otter, which is protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. On the other hand, the Asian small-clawed otter might be legal, depending on the state’s legislation.