Members of the weasel family, otters are known for their elongated bodies, webbed feet and playful antics, particularly their love of sliding down rocks, banks or waterfalls.

Sadly, otters’ lives aren’t all fun and games. Habitat loss, water pollution and competition with fisheries threaten their survival. They’re captured for the exotic pet trade in some countries and several species are still trapped and hunted for their fur. With all these challenges, it’s no wonder that more than half of the world’s 13 species of otters are classified as endangered or vulnerable.

Trio of river otters basking in the sun on floating log
Otterly brilliant!

One of only a handful of non-primate species known to use tools, sea otters use stones to break open shellfish and to pry abalone off rocks—skills they teach their pups.

Sea otter sitting on a rock
Did you know?

By keeping sea urchin populations in check, sea otters enable underwater kelp forests to thrive, providing food and cover for countless species of fish, invertebrates and marine mammals.

By taking a stand against the fur industry in refusing to purchase its products, you’ll encourage designers to stop using fur, retailers to stop selling it and style writers to stop touting it as fashionable.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals