Can You Have An Otter As A Pet

The Basics of Keeping Otters as Pets

Otters are increasingly popular exotic pets. Their playful nature and aquatic abilities make them appealing to some pet owners. However, keeping otters as pets has some important considerations.


In most areas, it is illegal to keep native otter species as pets. Some places allow non-native otter species to be kept as pets with the proper exotic pet permits. Be sure to research your local and state laws before considering an otter.


Otters are semi-aquatic animals, so they need both dry living space and water access. A large enclosure with a pool is necessary, and it must be securely fenced. Proper filtration and cleaning of the water is essential.


Otters eat a variety of fish, shellfish, and small vertebrates. They need a nutritionally balanced raw diet. Never feed them low-quality pet foods. Working with an exotic animal nutritionist is recommended.


Otters are highly intelligent and active animals. They need a lot of enrichment to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. This includes puzzle toys, playing with handlers, and room to swim and explore.

Veterinary Care

There are few vets properly trained to provide medical care for otters. Be sure you have access to a qualified exotic vet before getting an otter.

In Summary

While cute, otters require very specialized care and housing. They are challenging exotic pets suited only to expert owners with the commitment and resources to properly care for them. For most people, it’s best to admire otters in the wild or at aquariums rather than keep them as pets.

Expanding on Keeping Otters as Pets


Otters are very social animals that live in family groups in the wild. Pet otters require ample attention and interaction from their owners to thrive. They should never be left alone for long periods.


Otters are intelligent and can be trained, but they are not easy to train like dogs. Their playful and independent nature means training takes a lot of time, patience, and persistence. They need positive reinforcement training from an early age.


Caring for an otter is expensive. The initial costs of building proper housing can be $5000-$10000. Vet bills for exotic pets are costly. Food costs are high due to their specialized diet. Owners should be financially prepared.

Time Commitment

Otters require a lot of hands-on care each day. Their enclosure needs daily cleaning. They need to be fed, exercised, and played with. The responsibility is constant and long-term. Otters can live 10-15 years.


Otters scent mark their territory. Even with cleaning, their enclosure and yard will have a noticeable “otter odor.” Owners must be prepared to manage and tolerate the natural odors.


While charismatic creatures, otters are not pets for everyone. Weigh carefully whether you can provide everything needed to properly care for an otter. For most, admiring them in the wild remains the best option.

#FAQ #Update #AdditionalContent

“Considering Otters as Pets: Essential Information to Understand”

1. Are otters suitable as pets?
Otters are not suitable as pets due to their specific habitat and dietary requirements.

2. Why do otters chatter in pet videos?
Chattering in pet otters is often a sign of distress caused by unfamiliar surroundings, isolation, boredom, or inadequate habitat.

3. Is it legal to own otters as pets?
In many countries and U.S. states, owning otters as pets is illegal without a special permit, and the sale of these animals is often prohibited.

4. What space and habitat do otters need?
Otters require a lot of space, at least 60 square meters for a pair, and they need access to clean, properly temperature-controlled water.

5. What are the challenges of keeping otters as pets?
Keeping otters as pets can be expensive, as it involves high initial costs, enclosure expenses, and potential security measures due to their escape-prone nature. Additionally, otters can be aggressive and emit strong odors.

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