ETYM Old Eng. oter, as. otor; akin to Dutch and German otter, Icel. otr, Dan. odder, Swed. utter, Lith. udra, Russ, vuidra, Greek hydra water serpent, hydra, Skr. udra otter, and also to Eng. water. Related to Water, Hydra.
1. Freshwater carnivorous mammal having webbed and clawed feet and dark brown fur.
2. The fur of an otter.
Any of various aquatic carnivores of the weasel family, found on all continents except Australia. Otters have thick, brown fur, short limbs, webbed toes, and long, compressed tails. They are social, playful, and agile.
The genus Lutra includes the river otters of North America and Eurasia, about 1 m/3.5 ft long, including the tail. The sea otter Enhydra lutris of the N Pacific is the most aquatic. It sometimes lies on its back in the water, resting a stone on its chest, on which it breaks shellfish. The giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis of South America reaches 1.5 m/5 ft plus a 70 cm/2.3 ft tail.