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Nevertheless, there are many parallels, because they sleep in cozy dog beds , love cat food and go for a walk in the park with their owners – with a collar and leash, of course. In addition, the bright guys are very affectionate and docile.
And they like to splash around in the water for their life, which corresponds to their natural way of life. What is meant are the cute dwarf otters, which are preferably kept as pets, especially in Asia. But there is also great interest in this country. In our amount you will find out everything you need to know about the exotic.
Dwarf otters – exotic pets with high demands
It is obvious that dwarf otters are also trendy with us. They are particularly cute and have short, dense and silky-soft fur that we love to touch and stroke. In addition, otters become tame and can be very related to humans. The lively animals are playful, curious and like to cuddle up in between.
In fact, otters seem to be capable of multitasking: Their gaze follows a movement with concentration, while their paws are already feeling for the next toy and examining it. They communicate with funny whistles and beeps. They hug cuddly toys when they sleep and look for a soft spot.
However, caution is advised with their sharp fangs. Similar to dogs, otters like to put our hands and fingers in their mouths. This is a sign of bonding and getting to know each other. But young pygmy otters in particular are sometimes a little too brash and serious injuries can occur.
Possibly predators from Southeast Asia
You should also know that by their origin, pygmy otters are predators that have to hunt their meals in their natural environment. The diurnal predators feed mainly on crabs, mussels, snails and other molluscs.
Therefore, they have particularly strong teeth that are able to crack open the hard shells of their prey. Nevertheless, they can nibble very tenderly and like to take a front paw in their mouth when they are sleepy – like a toddler sucking its thumb.
The Southeast Asian region is home to the wild dwarf otters. They are located near the river and can be found particularly in India, Vietnam, southern China or Taiwan. In the sandy shores they dig stately structures in which they sleep and give birth to their young.
Usually they live together in sociable groups of eight or twelve animals. For this reason, as housemates, they should not be kept individually, but at least in pairs.
Funny facial expressions and finger-like paws
Dwarf otters have a small head that merges seamlessly into the body. Their dark, alert eyes are wide apart, giving them a good all-round view.
On the other hand, they cannot see what is in front of them so well. But this shortcoming is made up for by their long whiskers, which are used for touching. The ears of the marten-like are very small and shell-shaped, but they can hear well.
With their short and rounded nose, they pick up the scent and sniff their surroundings with curiosity. Their mouths are not too big according to the head, but well developed with long fangs in the upper and lower jaw as well as strong molars for chewing. If it is closed, the corners of the mouth are slightly drawn down, so that the dwarf otters always look a little disgruntled.
The small dwarf otters, which belong to the superfamily of canine species, weigh about four to six kilograms and are between 45 and 75 centimeters long. Its strong, pointed and hairy tail takes up almost half of the entire body length.
No wonder, because otters are excellent swimmers and use their tails as an oar and as an aid to locomotion in the water. It also helps them to keep their balance on land. The pygmy otters’ fur is very dense and is colored dark brown to gray in the back area.
Dwarf otters body
The belly and chin area, on the other hand, are kept light. With around 50,000 hairs per square centimeter, their fur is one of the densest in the animal kingdom. It thus serves as the perfect insulation against wetness and cold.
The paws of the dwarf otters are a specialty. They each have five finger-like toes with very short claws. Therefore they are often called finger otters or short-clawed otters.
As with us humans, they have well-developed toe tips, which are considered excellent organs of touch. In addition, the front paws in particular serve to take in food.
Pygmy otters don’t usually pick up their chunks of food with their mouths, but hold onto it with one or both paws, which is cute to look at.
The hind and front paws are equally equipped with slightly recessed webbed feet that act like paddles in the water. Despite their short legs, otters can move surprisingly quickly on land.
What needs do Dwarf otters have as pets?
In order to meet their natural urge to move around, dwarf otters also need a spacious enclosure when they are kept as pets. A cage or small animal stable should only be used during the acclimatization phase and is unsuitable for long-term housing.
The little otters feel most comfortable when you build them an enclosure in the garden or in the house. If you keep it indoors, it is advisable to have a whole room in which you can move freely. But a pair of otters needs at least 20 square meters.
Of course, it is ideal if they are allowed to run freely in the apartment like dogs or cats. But remember that they climb very well and can jump even better despite their short legs. With a little practice, the high kitchen worktop will soon no longer be an obstacle for you.
Dwarf otters likes bath every day
In addition, dwarf otters also need their daily refreshing bath. Bathtub or fixed paddling pool (beware of teeth with air-filled models!) Should at least be.
A larger pool or garden pool is even better. As mentioned before, otters like to take objects in their hands – sorry, in their front paws – and carry them away skillfully. Hence, they need toys to keep them busy. Classic dog toys or cat toys are suitable .
In terms of equipment, too, they have a similar need to other four-legged friends : food and water bowls, dog beds, transport boxes, as well as harness and leashare on their shopping list. You can feed dwarf otters mainly with dry or wet food for cats or dogs. Regular fish and meat meals should also be on your diet.
What does the legislator say about keeping pygmy otters?
According to the German Federal Nature Conservation Act, dwarf otters count as endangered species. Not so much because they are killed for their fur, but because their worldwide population is declining due to the destruction of their habitat.
For this reason and because they are actually wild animals, otters may not be kept as pets in general. Interested parties need a permit from the respective state authority and have to prove that they are accommodated in a species-appropriate manner and have specialist knowledge of the special housing. The requirements vary from state to state.
With the permit in your pocket, you can buy otters at some pet stores. But you should make sure that the animals have valid papers, which on the one hand indicate the country of origin and contain a trade permit.
However, it is better not to buy dwarf otters from the black market without a pedigree certificate. Because you would break the law and you cannot be sure that the animals have lived in a species-appropriate environment so far.
Dwarf otters are cute and playful exotic species that, under certain conditions, can also be kept as pets. If you are interested in a posture, you should familiarize yourself with its particular needs and become an expert. Your specialist knowledge and species-appropriate housing conditions are the ideal basis.