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    Why Do Female Otters Have Nose Scars?

    Why do female otters have nose scars? People love otters, but the cute and cuddly aquatic mammals lead lives filled with some gnarly unknown facts.

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    Female Otters Have Nose Scars Because They Engage in Some Rough Mating Rituals


    JUN. 3 2022, PUBLISHED 4:40 P.M. ET

    So there you are scrolling through Instagram when boom: You're hit with an adorable video of an Otter dancing to Beenie Man's "Who Am I." Before you know it, you're an hour and a half behind in work after going down the rabbit hole of cute/strange animal videos and learning facts about them which, quite frankly, provide more information than you ever cared to learn.

    Like the answer to a question a lot of people have about female otters. Namely: Why do they all seem to have scars on their noses?

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    Why do female otters have scars?

    Throughout your research of the cute, whiskered, slinky little carnivores, you may have noticed that in quite a few pictures of female otters, a lot of them have pink, gnarled noses instead of the black ones typical of otters. So why do they have so many scars?

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    Well, a lot of that has to do with the mating rituals of otters. Male otters tend to get extremely aggressive when they're cavorting about with potential matches. They will bite down on parts of a female's neck or, in many instances, their noses when they're in the throes of courtship.

    Foreplay for otters tends to look a lot like a competitive swimming match with tons of lunging after one another, circling around in the water, and twisting around. According to the folks at Seaworld, "A male approaches a female and attempts to embrace her with his forelegs or rub and sniff her body. If she is receptive, the two roll and frolic; if not, she will push him away. Copulation is preceded by vigorous play — chasing, swimming, diving, twisting, cork-screwing, and lunging."

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    And yes, there are mentions of the whole nose-biting thing: "In some species, the male bites the female's upper jaw or nose, in other species the male grasps the female by the scruff of the neck. Copulation takes place in the water, and lasts 10 to 30 minutes. When a male sea otter finds a receptive female, the two engage in playful and sometimes aggressive behavior."


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    The site continues, "The male often grasps the female's nose in his teeth, causing it to become swollen and bloody. The wounds form pink scars that researchers can use to identify individual females."

    In fact, otters' mating rituals can tend to get a bit murderous. Tree Hugger writes:

    "When it comes to mating, male sea otters are aggressive. The males will grasp the female, then bite down onto her nose and hold on, usually resulting in deep cuts and gouges, sometimes with pieces of flesh torn away. The two spin in the water until mating is finished and the male releases the female. This can sometimes result in the death of the female, either from physical trauma or even drowning."

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    There are even more dark facts about otters.

    If this seems kind of violent and a bit shocking, there are some other pretty brutal facts about otters not many people know.

    If you search for "otters attacking people," you'll find that there are tons of stories spanning several years that tell of otters going buck nasty on members of our species. In fact, in 2021, one group of river otters went about attacking dogs and people in Alaska, for seemingly no reason at all.

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    Maybe they just wanted folks to stay away from "their turf," or it could just be that otters are known to be no-holds-barred when it comes to other animals. There's footage of a group of them killing a monkey they shared a zoo enclosure with. And then there was an otter that murdered a dog and kept its carcass around to use as a sex toy.

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    Male otters will also hold a mother's baby hostage until she gives up her food. In 2019, Vox reported biologists Randall Davis and Heidi Pearson as writing: "A male approached a pup floating on the surface while its mother was diving for food. The male forced the pup underwater as if trying to drown it. When the female surfaced, the male stole her food (a clam), after which the female and pup quickly departed."

    Source : www.distractify.com

    All About Otters

    Take a deep dive and learn all about otters - from what they like to eat to how they care for their young. Click here for a library of otters resources.

    Physical Characteristics


    River otters range in size from about 87 to 153 cm (34-60 in.) and 3 to 14 kg (7-31 lbs.).

    The largest river otter is the North American river otter, ranging from 100 to 153 cm (39-60 in.).

    The smallest river otter is the marine otter, averaging 87 to 115 cm (34-45 in.).

    The giant otter averages 145 to 180 cm (57-71 in.), with a maximum recorded length of 240 cm (94 in.). Male giant otters average 26 to 34 kg (57-75 lbs.), while females average 22 to 26 kg (49-57 lbs.).

    The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest of all otters, measuring 65 to 94 cm (26-37 in.) and weighing just 1 to 5 kg (2.2-11 lbs.). The other two clawless otters are similar in size to river otters.

    Alaska sea otters are slightly larger than California sea otters.

    Male Alaska sea otters measure up to 148 cm (58 in.) and average about 27 to 39 kg (60-85 lbs.). Large males have been known to reach a weight of 45 kg (100 lbs.).

    Female Alaska sea otters measure up to 140 cm (55 in.) and average 16 to 27 kg (35-60 lbs.). Large females may reach 33 kg (72 lbs.).

    Male California sea otters average 122 cm (4 ft.) and 29 kg (64 lbs.).

    Female California sea otters average 20 kg (44 lbs.).

    Body Shape

    River otters typically have slender, streamlined, serpentine bodies. Clawless and giant otters have similarly shaped bodies.

    In comparison to other otter species, sea otters are somewhat stockier with larger ribcages.

    All otters have very flexible bodies. This flexibility allows them to groom almost every inch of their fur.


    In general, otters exhibit various shades of brown (light cinnamon to dark brown), with a darker dorsal (back) surface and much lighter ventral (underside) surface. In some species, the color boundaries are sharp and distinct; in others, they are less clearly defined.

    The hairy-nosed otter is very dark brown with a creamy white throat.

    Giant and spot-necked otters have creamy white splotches on their throats and chests, sometimes blending to form a "bib".


    All otters have four relatively short legs. They enable otters to swim, walk, groom, and manipulate prey. Paws have bare sole pads on the undersides, with the exception of the sea otter, which has no sole pads on its hind feet.

    River otters have webbed digits and strong, nonretractile claws on all four feet.

    Clawless otters have partial webbing on their feet. Congo and Asian otters have small, blunt, peg-like claws. Cape clawless otters have similar claws on the three middle toes of their hind feet; claws are absent on the other toes.

    Giant otters have large, fleshy feet with thick webbing that extends to the tips of the digits. Claws are well developed.

    Sea otters have small dexterous forefeet with retractile claws. They use their forefeet for grooming, finding food, and eating, but not for swimming. The sea otters' flipper like hind feet are large, broad, and webbed. The outer digits of the hind feet are the longest.


    The tails of river otters and clawless otters are long, and about one-third of total body length. They are thick at the base, muscular, flexible, and taper to a point.

    The giant otter's tail is similar to those of other freshwater otters. However instead of tapering to a point it becomes lance-shaped - flattened top-to-bottom, with a noticeable flange on each side.

    A freshwater otter uses its tail to propel itself when swimming at high speed, to steer when swimming slowly, and to help balance when standing upright on its hind legs.

    Compared to other otters, sea otters have shorter and less muscular tails, with no marked tapering. While floating on its back, a sea otter can scull with its tail to turn.

    Like most other mustelids, freshwater otters have subcutaneous anal scent glands at the base of the tail. Sea otters lack scent glands.


    Otters have flattened heads and short, thick necks. A sea otter has a blunter muzzle than those of other otters.

    Eyes are located toward the front of the head.

    Ears are very small, and either rounded or pointed. The valve-like structure of the ears enables them to close when in the water.

    The nose pads of otters vary considerably with the species.

    The nose pads of most otters are flat and bare with some variation on a spade or anvil shape.

    Most river otters have black nose pads. The smooth otter and clawless otters have nose pads that are dusky or pinkish in color.

    The nose pads of hairy-nosed and giant otters are partially or completely covered with hair.

    A sea otter's nose pad is large, bare, black, and diamond-shaped. An adult female's nose pad often bears pink scars from wounds inflicted during mating, when the male grasps her nose with his teeth.

    Like the ears, an otter's nostrils close when under water.

    Teeth vary with diets.

    Fish-eating otters that catch prey with their mouths have sharp teeth. Shellfish-eaters have more blunt teeth, adapted for crushing shells.

    Sea otters have 32 teeth, mostly post-canine molars. They are designed for crushing and grinding the shells of invertebrates, not for tearing flesh. Sea otters are the only carnivores with just two pairs of incisors in the lower jaw. Their incisors appear to function in scraping the soft parts of molluscs from

    Source : seaworld.org

    Why do female otters have nose scars?

    FEMALE otters can be quite tough to tell apart from their male counterparts - but they do have one defining feature.The girls in a raft of otters can


    Why do female otters have nose scars?

    Lara Wildenberg

    May 31st 2022, 5:56 am

    Updated: May 31st 2022, 5:56 am

    FEMALE otters can be quite tough to tell apart from their male counterparts – but they do have one defining feature.

    The girls in a raft of otters can be spotted by their pink, scarred noses which stick out from the wet, black noses of the boys.

    GETTY 2

    A female otter can be identified by her pink nose

    Why do female otters have nose scars?

    There’s a cheeky reason female otters have nose scars and it’s all to do with mating.

    When frolicking in the water, a male otter will often grasp a female’s nose pad with its teeth, causing it to become swollen and bloody – and leaving her with a pink scar.

    Some males bite the female’s upper jaw or nose while getting down to business, but other species might grasp her by the scruff of the neck.

    In the lead up to mating, otters take part in some vigorous playtime – chasing, swimming, diving, twisting, cork-screwing and lunging.

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    A lusty male otter will try to seduce a female by embracing her with his forelegs or rubbing and sniffing her body.

    If she’s interested in his advances, the two will roll and frolic together, otherwise she’ll push him away.

    Otters mate all year round, although most pups are born between May and August, and copulation lasts for 10-30 minutes in the water.

    How to tell the difference between a male and a female otter

    Pretty pink noses are one of the best ways of spotting the female otters in a raft.


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    Boy otters, or those who haven’t been mating, usually have large, bare, black nose pads that are diamond-shaped.

    Males can also be slightly bigger in size than the females and the two sexes also urinate differently.

    Otters are never further than a few hundred meters from water and live together in a raft.

    The furry creatures are found all over North American in rivers throughout the United States and Canada.

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    Sea otters inhabit coastal areas and islands of the eastern and western North Pacific Ocean.

    Whereas the coast of Alaska, including the Aleutian Islands, and south along British Columbia and Washington, is home to Alaska sea otters.

    California sea otters live off the coast of central California, between Half Moon Bay and Pt. Conception.

    But there is even a small experimental population.

    This group of otters originated from relocated animals at San Miguel Island off the coast of Santa Barbara.

    GETTY 2

    European otter (Lutra lutra), female sitting on stone on the bank of a pond, captive, Switzerland


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    Source : www.the-sun.com

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