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When it comes to being an animal lover, otters are sure to be at the top of your list. Their frolicking nature is what they are most known for. There are many different species of the otters and they all can differ in size when it comes to being an adult. However, they can weigh up to 100 lbs and they have two layers of fur that protect them from the cold temperatures and also keep them dry while they swim underwater. Their bodies are slim and they have short limbs with paws that are webbed. With long muscular tails and sharp claws on their feet, these mammals can actually live up to 16 years. They can be found on just about every continent except Antarctica & Australia. It is very common for otters to live with their parents until they are at least one year old so that they can mature and learn. As swimmers, they are powerful and never get tired of hunting.
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Where Do They Live
Otters can be found in many different parts of the world depending on the types of otters spotted. They can be found in Alaska, Canada, Japan, Russia, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and other places along the coast. They spend much of their time near or in rivers, streams, lakes and other areas where large bodies of fresh salt water are found. However, you may also find some such as the river otters taking up residence in your shed, on your porch and even on your deck. You may find them asleep on the top of the water which is made possible by their ability to continuously float and when they're ready to hunt for food, they go way down below the water.
Otters Effect on the Ecosystem
An otter such as the sea otters has a significant effect on the ecosystem considering they are responsible for encouraging the production of kelp by consuming grazers. They make the ecosystem more diverse and complex which wildlife experts consider contribution to the stability of the ecosystem. This is especially true in California. Otters are a species referred to as the “umbrella” because the protection that they use for themselves is also often used to protect other habitats, ecosystems and even some species. They are used as an enacting tool in the movement of vessel traffic that is large offshore.
River otters are known for destroying the foundation that your home or business sits on and they often carry diseases that can be transmitted to you and your pets. Not to mention, there have been a attacks on humans reported.
What They Eat
Because there are 13 species of otters, diets may vary from otter to otter. However, here are some of the things they consider food; crabs, mussels, snails octopus, turtles, crayfish, small mammals, birds, crustaceans, mollusks, clams, a variety of fishes, sea urchins, abalone and more.
How to Get Rid of Them
If you live on a lake or near a river, you've probably had the privilege of seeing an otter. While they are amazing creatures to watch, they can also become a pest when going through your garbage, creating a mess in your yard and even eating the little fish out of your decorative pond. After a while of this continuous activity, they can quickly become annoying. It's important not to hurt otters when looking for solutions to get rid of them. They are quite playful and entertaining even though they find nibbling on your lettuce quite delectable.
It is often suggested that repellants that contain some type of pepper oil can be used to repel otters. You're supposed to spray the repellant on your garden to keep the otters from eating or bothering it for at least 30 days. However, repellants also suggest that you reapply them again which means that you will have to have this repellant on hand every month. While this might seem like a good solution, it's costly and can be dangerous to other animals not targeted.
The most effective way to remove otters from your property is to trap them. However, many states have different laws against untrained persons attempting this considering you could be bitten if the otter feels provoked. It is highly recommended that you contact your wildlife department to find out what the laws are. When trying to set a trap for an otter, it is required that you set the trap near an area where you have spotted the most activity from them. Inside of the trap, you could put salmon paste on the trigger and create a trail from the outside so that they'll smell it quicker and follow the scent. Once the otter tries to retrieve the paste, the door will shut and securely lock. Once the animal is caught, it's time to relocate it to a safe place a distance from your area so that it can continue to thrive and survive.
SOME SPECIFIC OTTER AREAS OF INTEREST:
How To Keep Otter Out Of Your Lake
A lake or pond can be a great source of food for many aquatic animals, and it is no different for otters. They will feed on fish, frogs, crayfish, and various other creatures. There are a few ways to keep otters away from the lake. Your first choice should be to use a fence around the lake. Building a fence is usually the most effective way to keep otters and other pests out, but a fence is not necessarily allowed in every community, and is very hard in the case of a lake! But it's feasible for a small pond or decorative goldfish pond. The one thing that you should never do is to kill the animal because some species are in fact protected. The next thing that you can do to repel otters is to use strong smelling spices and hot spices around the perimeter of the lake or pond. That will make it less likely that you will have otters in your pond. Using hot and smelly spices means that the closer the animal gets to the pond, the more uncomfortable it will be. Most repellents, even the spiciest do not work. Because of this you may also like to consider trapping the otters so that you can safely remove them to another area.
How To Keep Otters Out Of Your Yard
If you have recently seen otters in your yard, then chances are that you have some sort of body of water nearby. That body of water may not be providing enough space for the otters needs. That is why they may be looking for your yard as a means for habitat, and you could have them there almost every day. So how do you keep otters out of your yard? The first solution would be using a fence. Fences are pretty effective at keeping most pests out, and that includes otters. The point is that you have to cut the food supply for the otters to stop coming. A lot of people ask about repellants but in reality, repellants are usually a waste of money. If you have a pond on your property, then you may only need to fence that. If what are attracting the otters are, on the other hand, a space under a house, then a fence to block this area will work. One idea would be to trap the otters and safely remove them to another area far away from your home. Make sure to check with your local government so you don't relocate them to a bad area. Never kill an otter as some of them are protected and killing them can result in a fine.
What Kind Of Diseases Do Otters Carry?
Watching otters can be a fun spectacle of wild life. But getting too close can mean putting yourself at risk of disease. Clearly one of the biggest concerns when you get close to otters is scratches and bites. Their bites are strong and can even cause fractures and in some cases infections. Other ways to get an infection from otters is through inhaling the fungus from their feces. Infections are not the only concern when you live close to or handle otters. There is also the very real risk of contracting zoonotic disease. The first zoonotic disease that people are usually concerned about is rabies. Rabies can be transmitted from a live otter through their bite or exposure. But it can also be transmitted if you are handling a dead animal. If you see a dead otter in your property, or anywhere in the public areas, you should never handle it unless you know for sure the reason of its death. A person could also be contaminated with a zoonotic disease by means of consumption of the meat or a contaminated food source.
How To Safely Trap And Remove Otters
While many people enjoy watching otters in the wild or in a zoo, when it comes to having them near your home, they can quickly become unwanted guests. It is in those cases where trapping otters becomes a priority. Before you attempt to trap an otter, keep in mind that due to some species having protected status, your community may have rules and regulations regarding the trapping of wildlife. Before you attempt to trap an otter, you should be familiar with these regulations. Otters are not a small animal and figuring out the right trap can be difficult unless you have seen them or have an idea of how much they have eaten. When you look for traps, make sure that they are big enough for the otter you are trying to capture. The traps should be placed in a place that the otter frequents. For bait, use something with a powerful smell that the otters will like. Salmon is one of the best baits that you can use to attract otters. Once you place the trap, you should leave it alone anywhere from two to four hours so that the otter will have time to familiarize itself with the trap and trigger it. Once the otter is in the trap, always use the handle to lift it, as a bite can cause serious damage to unprotected skin.