The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest species of otter. It is the most common type trapped and sold as pets. Many Asian countries have taken measures to protect them through bans and regulation.
Otters are wild animals. Owning native otters is illegal in many countries including the UK, Japan, and the U.S. Yet otters are still being illegally smuggled into these countries to be sold as pets.
Aggression when stressed. When otters are agitated or stressed they can bite and become aggressive. Their bite is sharp and piercing. If you are bit by an otter, you'll need to treat the wound immediately. Also watch for signs of bacterial infection to the wound.
Otters like to climb and dig, so your enclosure will need a top and to be dug into the ground. The best enclosure for an otter is outside. Living inside comes with many challenges, like cleaning up otter feces and keeping your furniture intact. Otters can be destructive and are difficult to housetrain.
Otters can also be loud and destructive. They can cause damage to your home and hurt other animals in your family. Dogs and otters do not get along. If you have a dog in your home, they can get into fights with your otter.
Dogs and otters can transmit diseases to each other as well. Dogs can infect otters with canine distemper and rabies. Otters can give dogs Salmonella, just like humans. Otters may bite when threatened and are not good housemates.
They need plenty of space to roam and to be with their family. They thrive in social settings within their natural habitat. Sadly, due to the difficulties that come with owning an otter, many are abandoned or discarded to rescue groups.
Keeping a pet otter may seem tempting because they are adorably playful and curious. However, many states do not allow otters to be kept as pets. Very few states allow otters, but some may allow this animal with special permitting and licensing. Keep in mind that any otter species is a wild animal that will need specialized care, housing, and diet to stay happy and healthy. Of course, before deciding to purchase a pet otter, do your research to ensure you have the right applications, permits, and licenses in your particular state.
In all states where otters are legal to be kept as pets, the only species that can be owned is the Asian-clawed otter. Because Asian otters are not marine animals, they are not federally protected. Sea otters on the other hand are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which makes them federally illegal to own. It is important to get a pet otter from an individual or group that sells exotic animals because removing one from the wild can be dangerous.
A simple Wildlife Hobby Permit is usually all that is needed to keep exotic pets in Missouri which will allow the owner to keep one animal under the permit. River otters are specifically mentioned as animals that can be owned in the state with a permit. There are also specific guidelines for the cage size required to keep a river otter. Asian otters are not mentioned, implying they are legal without special permitting.
Florida uses a similar classification system to Missouri that categorizes exotic animals into Class I, which are the most dangerous, and Class III animals which don't harm the general public. Animals not specially mentioned in Class I and Class II automatically fall into Class III. Because otters are not specifically mentioned, they fall under Class III regulations which means they need a simple permit for care. Otter care is closely monitored to ensure proper enrichment is provided. Because of its climate, Florida is a popular state for owning exotic pets.
In Nebraska, only a Captive Wildlife Permit is needed to keep river otters. This permit costs $33 to purchase and to obtain it, a conservation officer will visit your house to ensure you have the proper enclosure and habitat for your pet otter to thrive. Because they are not mentioned directly as prohibited wildlife in the state, Asian otters are either legal with a permit or are not regulated.
The permit needed to keep an otter in North Dakota is called a Non-Traditional Livestock Permit. Otters are considered a category 2 animal, which means they are somewhere between domesticated animals and dangerous animals. Pet owners can get a permit once a local wildlife officer inspects their facility to ensure the right size, shape, and enclosure are in place.
There is no cuter sight than an otter floating around on its back with its little paws folded on its belly. They look like aquatic teddy bears from a distance, but if you get up close, you soon realize not everything about the otter is quite so adorable.
Wild otters all have a few things in common, including their basic physiology and love of water. With their dense fur coats and webbed feet, they are perfectly adapted to an aquatic environment and spend most of their time in the water.
Even with that thick fur, otters have had to make physiological adaptations so they can keep warm. Sea otters live in the cold waters of the North Atlantic and rely on their fast metabolisms to generate enough heat to stay warm.
Another characteristic shared by all otter species is that they are one of the few animals to have inbuilt pockets! Under their forearms, otters have flaps of skin into which they can stash food and useful tools like rocks.
Despite its adorable appearance, the otter can be surprisingly merciless and violent if the situation demands it. Studies have discovered a nasty side to the sea otter, with scientists observing males harassing and sexually interacting with young harbor seals.
What we do know is that some populations of sea otters are gradually recovering after being virtually decimated during the 18th and 19th centuries, when they were heavily hunted for their rich fur pelts.
Sadly, the latest exotic pet trend has seen other otter species diminishing. The Asian small-clawed otter was once abundant throughout most of Southeast Asia, but their population is declining rapidly. Other otters are near threatened, while others, like the hairy-nosed otter, are facing possible extinction.
Giant otters eat mainly fish, while other species, including the endangered southern otter, experiment with birds, preying on gulls, cormorants, and western grebes. Other otter species also take rodents and even rabbits if the opportunity arises.
An otter experiencing stress or anxiety can become extremely aggressive, attacking its owners and biting other animals. These bites are deep and painful and require immediate treatment to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.
River otters like the Asian small-clawed otter have huge home ranges in the wild, utilizing up to 20km of riverine habitat. This is impossible to replicate in a home environment, making it difficult for most to provide adequate housing. An enclosure suitable for a medium-sized dog is nowhere near big enough for an otter.
Many otters are already endangered species, and their populations are decreasing. The sea otter, giant otter, smooth-coated otter, and Eurasian otter are all endangered or near threatened, according to the IUCN, and more extensive conservation efforts will be required to reverse the current trend.
The Asian small-clawed and smooth-coated otters were placed under the highest level of protection by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2019 to combat illegal poaching for the exotic pet trade.
It is possible to find a legal alternative to keeping an otter in those places where doing so could land you on the wrong side of the law. Otters are similar to weasels and ferrets, which are legal to own in most states, while monkeys can be just as entertaining (and as smelly)!
You may be able to track down a broker or breeder but will have to join a long waiting list. For a while, pet otters occasionally appeared on sites, but you need to be cautious because of their vulnerable status in the wild.
The otter is one of the cutest creatures you can imagine. You may not think it, just to look at them, although even when stock-still they are adorable. However, if you have ever seen one having a snooze while going down river, opening up lunch on their bellies or rollicking in the water with their friends, only the meanest of the mean wouldn't find them enchanting. Don't even get us started on baby otter pups. They are so delightful, you could see why people might want to have an otter as a pet. So why don't you see more otters playing in the park on a Sunday afternoon
AnimalWised takes a look at the different aspects of domestic otters. Not only will we let you know if you can have an otter as a pet, we'll look into the different reasons why this might not be the best idea for both legal and practical reasons.
There are only 13 extant species of otter across the world. They are mustelids which means they belong to the same family as weasels, minks and badgers, but form a part of the subfamily Lutrinae. Thanks to hunting, habit destruction and many other human activities, almost all species of otter are either endangered or at least threatened. Fortunately, many governments and jurisdictions have created contingencies to try to protect these animals. In the UK, otters are fully protected under Sections 9 and 11 of Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The level of protection and types of otters present vary across different parts of the world. Not all countries have strict protection laws and many otter populations are already in decline. Some of the different types of otter species include:
The North American river otter is the only river otter found in north of Mexico. It is illegal in all US States to keep this indigenous otter as a pets. Exotic animals have many guidelines regarding their maintenance in captivity, but possession laws do change depending on the State. It is illegal to keep almost all otters as pets in North America, with one exception. In some states, it is not illegal to keep an Asian small-clawed otter as a pet. There are several strict guidelines concerning their care and upkeep, but, in theory, you can keep an Asian small-clawed otter as a pet in some states of the USA. The following is a list of reasons why you shouldn't. 59ce067264