What do otter babies eat?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Otter babies, also known as pups, have a diet that evolves as they grow and develop. Initially, when they are still blind and completely dependent on their mother, they rely solely on their mother’s milk for nourishment. This milk is rich in essential nutrients and provides them with all the sustenance they need during this early stage of their lives.

After about forty days, when their eyes have opened and they have become more active, otter pups start to venture out of their dens and explore their surroundings. At this point, their diet begins to expand beyond just milk. They start to consume solid food, mainly in the form of plants and small fish.

Vegetation becomes an important part of their diet, and they will often feed on aquatic plants such as water lilies, grasses, and reeds. These plants not only provide them with essential nutrients but also help in maintaining their dental health by acting as a natural toothbrush. Otters use their sharp teeth to tear and chew the vegetation, which helps keep their teeth clean and healthy.

In addition to plants, otter pups also start to consume small fish as they develop their hunting skills. They may catch and eat fish such as minnows, perch, and trout. These fish provide them with a good source of protein, which is important for their growth and development.

It is fascinating to note that some otter species, such as the Asian small-clawed otter, have a more diverse diet. They are known to be opportunistic feeders and may consume insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and even small mammals like frogs or mice. This adaptability allows them to thrive in various habitats and take advantage of available food sources.

Another interesting behavior observed in otters is their occasional tree climbing. While not all otter species exhibit this behavior, some, like the North American river otter, are known to climb trees. They may climb trees to access bird nests or to consume fruits and branches. This unique behavior demonstrates their versatility in finding food sources.

To summarize, otter babies initially rely on their mother’s milk for sustenance. As they grow, their diet expands to include a variety of foods such as plants and small fish. Some otter species may also consume insects, crustaceans, and small mammals. The occasional tree climbing behavior adds to their adaptability and allows them to access different food sources.