Otters are semi-aquatic mammals that are members of the Mustelidae family, which also contains weasels, ferrets, and badgers. Otters are notable for their lively nature and love of water. These critters devour a wide variety of foods in the wild. However, a very common question people ask is, Do otters eat snakes?
Yes, otters eat snakes. However, not all types of otters are known to feed on snakes. It largely depends on the species of otter and the type of snake. There are up to 13 different species of otters in the world. Orca Species differ from one another in terms of geographical location and nutritional preferences. We can say that otters are opportunistic predators that will consume everything they can get their hands on. Several species, however, are known to specialize in specific sorts of prey.
In this article, we will take a deep look into the species of otters that eat snakes.
Don’t think of snake-eating otters as specialized snake-hunting animals like honey badgers or mongooses. They don’t go out seeking to only hunt down snakes; snakes just happen to be part of their larger diet. Unlike badgers or mongooses, there isn’t yet a scientific study to prove that some of these species of otters are resistant to snake venom.
There are 13 different species of otters namely; North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis), Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris), Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra), Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana), Spotted-Necked Otter (Hydrictus maculicollis), Smooth-Coated Otter (Lutrogale persipicillata), South American River Otter (Lontra provocax), Neotropical River Otter (Lontra longicaudis), Marine Otter (Lontra felina), Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Asian Small-Clawed Otter (Amblonyx cinereus), African Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis) and Congo Clawless Otter (Aonyx congicus). Out of all these species of otters, only the hairy-nosed otters and the giant otters have been observed to feed on snakes.
Hairy-nosed otters (Lutra sumatrana).
The hairy-nosed otters are usually brown in color, except for the lighter fur on their belly. They are also known to have a layer of light hair on the tip of their snout. Their name comes from their hair. They possess webbed feet and slender tails, which help them swim. They have long and narrow bodies and a prominent claw. Adult gown hairy-nosed otters usually weigh between 11 and 17 pounds and can grow to a size of about 32 inches.
This species of otter is very rare to find. It is believed to be the rarest otter species in the world. At first, it was thought to be extinct until 1998. Since then, small populations of the species have been observed. They are considered endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
Some Hairy-Nosed Otters prefer to live alone, while others may live together in groups of up to four otters. Their life span is usually around 10 years. They are geographically found around Southeast Asia, including South Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, South Vietnam, and Peninsular Malaysia. Their local population in Sumatra, Cambodia, Vietnam, and southern Thailand has greatly reduced because of poaching.
Apart from water snakes, other animals that are contained in their diet are catfish, snakeheads, climbing perch, mollusks, and crustaceans.
Gaint otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)
Giant otters are the largest species of otters in the world. They grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in height and can weigh up to 75 pounds (34 kilograms). They are distinguished by their strong jaws and sharp teeth they use in hunting their prey.
Just like the hairy-nosed otters, they are also considered endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
Giant otters are very social; they are known to live in family groups throughout their lives. Typically, a family group of giant otters consists of about 2–10 individuals; however, they can have up to 20 members. The family group usually works together to hunt for food. However, some members of the group may have specialized work; for example, older members help to feed the new offspring.
They are natives of the South American countries of Argentina, Venezuela, and Columbia. They are found around freshwater rivers, lakes, and creeks.
Otters eat snakes. However, of all the otter species, only the giant otters and the hairy-nosed otters have been observed to eat snakes.
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