It may seem trendy to own an exotic pet, but owning an otter as a pet is illegal in most localities without a permit. They are considered wildlife and have requirements that are different from those of the average household pet.
Reasons Not to Own a Pet Otter
If you are considering applying for a permit to own a pet otter, here are some reasons why you may not want to. Of course, if you work at a zoo or wildlife sanctuary, then these reasons won’t concern you as much.
Otters have very sharp teeth, and they bite.
Otters have a musky scent and spray very much like a skunk’s spray. They are definitely not inside animals.
Otters are Nocturnal
They like to hunt for food at night, and the last sound you need at night while you are trying to sleep is that of an otter splashing in your swimming pool.
Otters Need to Be Near a River
Otters like to hunt fish in a river and can eat lots of food in a day. Chances are, you don’t have secure access to a river.
Otters Learn Survival Skills from Their Mother
Otters need to learn how to survive from their mother. Their mother teaches them these skills up to 18 months of age.
Caring for an Otter
Once you have a permit for your otter, there are some special requirements that you will have to consider.
Water for Swimming and Food
Otters spend the majority of their time in the water. They like to live in very cold water, and they have a high metabolic rate to keep them warm. They can even hold their breath under water for up to 10 minutes. They are playful creatures that like to hunt for fish and eat lots of shellfish, frogs, sea urchins and invertebrates.
However, because you are keeping them in an unnatural enclosure, these foods will have to be introduced. Otters eat 15-25 percent of their body weight a day, and that’s a lot of fish. In the wild, they can spend up to five hours a day hunting for food. They can grow to be 100 pounds in weight, so plan on supplying them with lots of food each day.
Mating Season Behavior
Otters can get very aggressive in the mating season so you have to make sure that household pets or other animals are not in the vicinity because an otter will drag an animal into the water and eat it.
By whatever means you obtained a baby otter and want to raise it yourself (don’t go near an adult otter), you can see there is more to caring for a pet otter than meets the eye. For your own sake and the sake of the otter, why not hand it over to the authorities who will know what to do with it for its survival.