Is it okay to have an otter as a pet?

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The Otter It is an animal belonging to the mustelidae family (Mustelidae) and we can find eight different species, all of them protected due to the imminent danger of extinction. If you plan to have an otter as a pet or have heard that someone does, you should know that it is totally prohibited by law and can carry considerable fines and penalties if kept in captivity.

In this AnimalWised article, we will talk about the way of life this animal has in nature, why it is not correct to have an otter as a pet and what to do if we find one.

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  1. Where and how do otters live?
  2. Is the otter a domestic animal?
  3. How to care for an otter?
  4. Is it legal to have an otter as a pet in Spain?

Where and how do otters live?

The european otter (Lutra lutra) used to inhabit all of Europe, from the most arctic areas, to North Africa and part of Asia. Starting in the middle of the 20th century, many of their populations disappeared due to human persecution, food shortages, Destruction of their habitat and pollution.

All otters, except for the sea otter (Enhydra lutris), live in rivers, lakes, marshes, lagoons or any place where there is clear water, surrounded by very dense wooded vegetation. Their burrows are on the banks, taking advantage of natural caves. They do not have a single burrow, it is known that each day they can rest in a different one, as long as it is within their territory..

They feed almost exclusively on aquatic animals, fish, crustaceans, amphibians or reptiles, Although, if they do not have the above, they can get out of the water and hunt small mammals or birds. Except for the sea otter, which does not come out of the ocean in its entire life.

Generally, the otter is a lonely animal, They only come together during courtship and copulation, and when the mother is with her young until they leave. They can reproduce throughout the year, but they tend to regulate their cycles according to times of drought and the abundance of their preferred prey..

Is the otter a domestic animal?

In countries like Japan or Argentina, there is a new "trend " that consists of having an otter as a pet. Although it may seem a docile and manageable animal, the otter is a wild animal, that has not gone through a domestication process, which would take hundreds of years.

People usually buy illegally to the animal when it is still a cub, so it has been separated from its mother too soon. Otter cubs must be with their mother for at least 18 months, as they learn everything necessary for life from her. The fact that they are solitary animals is another reason why they should not be pets, since they would be accompanied most of the time. Furthermore, in a house they could not carry out all their natural behaviors, Well, we don't usually have rivers or lakes in our homes.

On the other hand, these animals really become aggressive when in heat, condition they are in for most of their adult life.

How to care for an otter?

If you come across an adult otter and think it may be badly injured or in need of veterinary attention, it is best to keep an eye on it from a distance while calling the 112 or forest agents of the region where you are. Do not try to catch it, as it could attack you and, being a mammal, transmit a multitude of infections or parasites.

If, on the other hand, you find a baby that under no circumstances could survive on its own, you can place it in a cardboard box that is wide enough, insert a blanket to protect it from the cold (if it does) and take it to a wildlife recovery center or call the forest agents.

Is it legal to have an otter as a pet in Spain?

All otter species are in Appendix I of the CITES convention, this means that they are fully its capture or trade prohibited, in Spain or in any other country in the world. The management of these species is only allowed for scientific reasons, for the study of populations or reintroduction into the natural environment. In addition, the otter is included in the Bern convention, due to its imminent extinction.

For this reason, and because the otter is not a domestic animal, but a wild one, you can't have an otter as a pet.

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