otter(redirected from otters)
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See E. Park, The World of the Otter (1972); P. Chanin, The Natural History of Otters (1985).
(Lutra lutra), a predatory mammal of the family Mustelidae; a valuable fur-bearing animal. Weight, up to 10 kg. The body is supple and muscular and more than 70 cm long. The long tail (about 45 cm) is tapering; the paws are short and webbed. The animal is found in Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa; in the USSR it is found everywhere except the Far North, the Crimea, and in deserts.
Otters can swim swiftly and burrow well. The fur does not get wet in water, and it retains air. The basic food for otters is fish and frogs; sometimes they catch ducklings and water voles. In winter otters stay near wormwood. While searching for fish, they may migrate, even crossing local watersheds. They gradually shed their fur during the spring-summer season; their best fur appears during the winter. The burrow, whose entrance is sometimes hidden beneath the water, is built under the overhanging banks. Gestation lasts eight to ten months, and otters breed once every two years in April or May. Otters give birth to blind offspring (most often three), which they care for all winter. The male does not help care for the young. Because of the widespread extermination of otters, hunting for them is prohibited in most regions of the USSR.
REFERENCESOgnev, S. I. Zveri Vostochnoi Evropy i Severnoi Azii, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and V. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.