Otters are semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the weasel family. There are currently 13 species. They are found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Otters live in dens called holts, and their droppings are called spraints (UK) or scat (elsewhere). Many species eat fish, but some specialise in crabs or clams. Otters are active hunters, chasing prey in the water or searching the beds of rivers, lakes or the seas. Most species live beside water, but most otters usually enter it only to hunt, travel ot play, otherwise spending much of their time on land to avoid their fur becoming waterlogged. Sea otters are considerably more aquatic and live in the ocean for most of their lives. Otters are playful animals and appear to engage in various behaviors for sheer enjoyment, such as making waterslides and then sliding on them into the water. Different species vary in their social structure, with some being largely solitary, while others live in groups – in a few species these groups may be fairly large.
- Best Friends - Set in an imaginary Asian country, Billy befriends Swimmy the otter, and together try to save the forest they both rely on. The story shows the importance of the forest to everyone, and introduces the otter to children. Written by Mevna N. de Silva, illustrated by Thusitha P. Pathirane, funded by Columbus Zoo. PDF 20.5 MB
- The Mean Princess - Set in an imaginary Asian country, the Princess acquires an otter as a pet but does not look after it properly. One day she falls into a river and the otter saves her. All the animals are released into the wild in gratitude. This story shows that all animals should be treated with kindness. Written by Mevna N. de Silva, illustrated by Thusitha P. Pathirane, funded by Columbus Zoo. PDF 24 MB
- The Village by the Stearm - Set in an imaginary Asian country, an otter, Ripples, lives in a swamp. A rich man drains it to build a hotel and Ripples is separated from her family. A kind family in a village by the swamp take her in, but the village loses its harvest when there is a flood caused because the swamp is not longer there. The children and Ripples tell the King, who orders the swamp to be restored. This story teaches children about otters, and also the importance of the apparently useless swamp. Written by Mevna N. de Silva, illustrated by Rasika Manori Dissanayake, funded by Columbus Zoo. PDF 18.5 MB
Khmer Otter Education Booklet
This booklet was created by Conservation International staff in Cambodia, with lively drawings by the children who live round Tonlé Sap lake.
Booklet PDF 6.3 MB