Otters: The Animals That Hold Hands

Otters are one of the most loved animals in the entire world. Their cute features and playful manner always has people picking them as their favorite animal. Otters are mammals in the family of Mustelidae. This means that they are related to badgers, ferrets, wolverines, and about 63 other kinds of subfamilies. They are carnivorous animals that feed on invertebrates and fish.

Photo by Silvia Heider on

Otters can range in size with the largest otters weighing up to 90 pounds and the smallest otters weighing as low as 10 pounds. When thinking of an Otter most people pictures the North American River Otter. They have a long narrow body like a ferret, short legs with webbed toes to act as a paddle when swimming, a flattened head to cut through the water like a knife, and thick waterproof fur.

Otters need to live in a community. They constantly interact and work with others of their species to make decisions and work to survive together. When Otters sleep they will interlock arms and create a chain so they do not lose family and friends. Research has found networks of sleeping otters as large as 1,000!

Although Otters have a fun and playful personality, this does not mean you should try and touch them in the wild. In the wild, they are extremely dangerous. Their large sharp teeth used to feed on their prey can also be used for defense against large animals like humans if needed. If you find yourself in contact with an Otter you should keep a distance of at least 25 yards.

One of the coolest things about Otters is how smart they are. On top of creating communities that work together to survive they use tools! Yes, I said tools! They use rocks as a hammer and anvil to break hard-shelled objects open. Then, when they acquire what they are looking for they will store it in a pouch located under their armpit.

Maned Wolf: Definitely a Werewolf

The Maned Wolf is a very unique animal found in South America. It looks as if a person actually turned into a werewolf! It resembles a fox with its reddish hair, pointy ears, and black stripe on its neck. But, it also resembles a wolf with its standing at 3 feet tall and a weight of 55 pounds with long legs. What if I told you that this animal wasn’t related to either one! The Maned Wolf or C. brachyurus is a mammal that is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon.

The Maned wolf is still considered a Canine and is the largest in South America. They can typically be found in the grasslands and forests of Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Although they can be found in numerous countries they are not thriving well. Their population has been on a steady decline due to hunting and their habitats being destroyed. They are near threatened animals and many countries like Peru and Brazil have no hunting laws.

The Maned Wolf does not live for very long, with the median age being 6.5 years. This is also another reason it is easy for their populations to decline. Individuals do not have as much time as other mammals to reproduce and double their population. You may wonder why their lifespan is so low? This is not due to hunting or predators. In fact, they face very few threats from predators. The only major predators they face are the large cats of South America (Jaguars and sometimes Pumas). The reason for their lifespan is purely due to their biology and genetics.

The reason for the Maned wolf’s long legs is to help them hunt. Living in environments where the grass is tall and not controlled, it can be hard to see far distances. Thus, their long legs give them the ability to see from above the grass and hunt their prey. Their prey includes things like small animals (rabbits), insects, and rodents.

Proboscis Monkey: Does Size Matter?

The Proboscis monkey is a primate found on the southeastern Asian island of Borneo. Also known as the long-nosed monkey due to its abnormally oversized nose it is easily recognized. Along with its long nose, it is covered in multi-colored fur. Its hair is reddish-brown near the head and neck, light-brown around the body and arms, and grey at the torso and legs.

So, why does this monkey have such a large nose? Scientists are not exactly sure why the Proboscis monkey has developed such as large nose but they do know that it is related to mating. It is believed that the larger the nose the more attractive a male might be. This can be due to the visual size but, it is also believed that a larger nose is correlated with louder mating calls. Louder matting calls mean that they can be heard by more females and have a better chance of reproducing. Adaptations that increase the ability to reproduce will have a greater chance of being expressed. This is the reason Proboscis monkeys have large noses.

If you haven’t heard of the Proboscis monkey it is not a surprise. These primates are slowly going endangered. The reason for this is due to the damage and destruction of their natural habitats and food sources. Their diet consists of leaves, fruits, and sometimes insects. The increase in oil palm plantations and logging in the area has reduced the accessibility to these necessary nutrients as well as a safe home.

While living in the forests and mangroves of southeastern Asia, they face some of the most dangerous predators. These include leopards, humans, crocodiles, and more! To evade these predators they have developed webbed feet and hands to swim across rivers and lakes as well as their natural ability to climb trees.

The Probiscis money can range drastically between females and males. Males can reach weights of 50 pounds while females will only reach weights of 20 pounds. The male will also be about 2.5 feet in height while the female will be about 2 feet in height.