Can I Have a Pet Otter? Is it legal to own a otter as a pet?
The cute otter, a member of the weasel family, is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Most are small, with short ears and noses, elongated bodies, long tails, and soft, dense fur.
Listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015 ver 3.1 - Near Threatened (NT).
There are 13 species in total, ranging from the small-clawed otter to the giant otter. Though most live in freshwater rivers, lakes, and wetlands, the sea otter and the smaller marine otter are found in the Pacific Ocean.
The otter's food is mainly fish, often catching the fish out of the water and eat, but also catch small birds, small animals, frogs, shrimp, crabs and crustaceans, and sometimes eat part of the plant food. Like to dive from the shore or river cliffs to chase fish, but the most common method of hunting is ambush, especially in winter, often hiding in the ice caves, waiting for the fish to swim over when suddenly rushed out to feed. When waterfowl are found swimming slowly on the surface, they will also quietly dive close from underwater, then bite the prey and then slowly eat it.
Otters do not have a distinct breeding season and can mate year round, but mainly in the spring and summer. Males during the breeding season are uncharacteristically aggressive, often fighting each other for mates, and their appetite is greatly reduced and they hiss loudly. Mating takes place in the water, but females give birth on the grass of the nest. Females have a gestation period of about 2 months and usually give birth in the winter, giving birth to 1-5 young per litter.
The newborn cubs weigh 50-70g and are covered with long, black, soft, sparse hair, with eyes closed tightly and no teeth. The female cares for them very much and spends almost the whole day in the nest with her cubs, unless she goes out to get food. After 8 weeks, the female takes her cubs out of the nest and can only crawl slowly on the ground at first, then she starts to teach them to swim, and if some of them are afraid of the water and cower on the shore, the female gets busy up and down, urging and demonstrating, sometimes even putting the most timid cubs on her back and humping them into the water. After about 7 days, they can swim well, and then they start to practice fishing.
Can I Have a Pet Otter?
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.
The otter is not a domesticated animal species. There are many otters kept in captivity, but these are in animal welfare centers, zoos or conservation areas.
Unfortunately, we would not be able to list every country where keeping otter as a pet is legal or illegal. Not only does this depend on the country, the legality of keeping an otter as a pet will also depend on regions and jurisdiction within a given country. The local authority's regulations will need to be assessed before it could even be considered.
However, there are few countries which appear to favor having otters as pets. In Japan, pet fads appear with a certain regularity. While they were not the first country to open a pet cafe, the idea gained significant popularity there. This has spread to the opening of various hedgehog and even owl cafés. These have brought significant problems and it is very questionable if exotic animals will fare well in such environments.