Where Do Otters Sleep?

The adorable appearance of otters has made them quite popular worldwide, thanks to so many of their viral videos all over the internet. But there are many things that people don’t know about this animal. For example, where do otters sleep?

Otters might either take advantage of an abandoned beaver dam or lodge, or they might sleep on the sea. When they sleep on the sea, they usually bind themselves with kelp and/or hold hands with other otters so they don’t drift off (how cute is that?).

Let’s go into more detail about this answer, along with other information about an otter’s habitat.

Where Do Otters Sleep?

Many river otters will make use of an abandoned beaver lodge or similar waterside dwelling to have a dry, comfortable place to sleep away from the harsh surroundings. Burrows and hiding places beneath and under fallen logs are two other alternatives.

The aquatic environment is essential to the sea otter’s survival. When otters need a nap, they’ll use kelp to secure themselves to the seabed and drift off to sleep. 

Otters are often seen in or near kelp forests, and because the kelp strands grow from the ocean floor up to the surface, it is easy for an otter to ‘bind’ itself to the kelp and remain stationary while it sleeps. It can float on the water’s surface thanks to its fluffy coat.

How Do Otters Sleep?

Otters sleep by lying flat on their backs. They can maintain high flotation thanks to the air that is trapped within their dense fur. The fur of sea otters is exceptionally thick and dense compared to that of other mammals. 

They have approximately one million hairs covering every square inch of their bodies. Additionally, their fur consists of two layers, which, when combined, give them a total thickness of 1.5 inches. 

A sea otter’s fur contains two distinct layers: an undercoat and a longer, protective top coat. This second layer is so effective at retaining air that the sea otter’s skin is never wet. Sea otters must always keep their fur spotless to prevent air from escaping. 

Rafters are the collective noun for the social groups of sea otters that are composed entirely of individuals of a single sex. They live in kelp beds and can only be found there. They encase themselves in kelp so they don’t drift off as they sleep. Paws are also held occasionally. 

Puppies nap on their mothers’ bellies when they are very young. Young sea otters are equipped with a life jacket-like coat from birth, making it impossible to dive. The pup’s unique coat falls out at the two-month mark.

The Where and How of Otters’ Habitats

Only 13 otter species remain on Earth today. They are members of the subfamily Lutrinae of the mustelid family, which also includes weasels, minks, and badgers. Almost every otter species is in danger of extinction because of human activities like hunting and habitat loss. 

Thankfully, several nations and regions have established safeguards to try to preserve these creatures. The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981’s Sections 9 and 11 of Schedule 5 provide complete protection for otters in the United Kingdom.

There are several kinds of otters and varied levels of protection in different places of the world. Some nations lack comprehensive protection legislation, and many otter populations are currently in steep decline. There are several species of otters, and some of them are:

European Otter (Lutra lutra)

In the past, the European otter (Lutra lutra) could be found throughout the continent, from the Arctic south to Africa and even into Asia. 

Beginning around the middle of the twentieth century, many populations declined sharply as a result of human activity. The population decline continues now.

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is unique among otters because it prefers salt water to the pure water found in rivers, lakes, marshes, lagoons, and other habitats. They have the thickest fur of any otter species, making them well-suited to life in cold waters. 

They mostly forage and hunt on the seafloor off the coasts of North America, but they are capable of walking on land if necessary. These animals are in danger of extinction.

North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis)

Sometimes known as the common otter, these animals construct burrows near the water’s edge and divide their time between the two. They are especially well-known for their jovial nature.

Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

Although the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the longest of the otter species, the sea otter is larger due to its greater mass and thicker coat. 

While giant otters are vulnerable to attacks from a variety of species, they face no direct natural predators. Unfortunately, human hunters have nearly wiped off this species in several regions.

Asian Small-Clawed Otter (Aonyx cinera)

This species of otter, the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinera), gets its name from the partially webbed paws on its hind legs, which offer it an incredible degree of dexterity that is unmatched by any other otter species. 

They are the tiniest of all otter species and the only species that has ever been kept as a pet in homes and other human-dominated environments.

In most cases, it is against the law in America to keep otters as pets; however, there is one notable exception to this rule. It is not against the law to own an Asian small-clawed otter in certain US states. 

Some states in the United States technically allow people to keep Asian small-clawed otters as pets, but only under very specific conditions.

North American River Otter

The only river otter species found north of Mexico is the North American River otter. Keeping this native otter as a pet is against the law in every state in the United States. 

A wealth of information is available on how to care for an exotic animal in captivity, but different states have different rules governing ownership.


Knowing more about the habitat and activities of an animal you adore can only increase your love for them. So, the next time you find a cute video of an otter on the internet, you can enjoy it while also sharing your extensive knowledge about them with others.

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