are otters related to cats

Otters and minks are both part of Mustelidae on the Caniformia branch of Carnivora. Compared to dogs and cats they’re far more closely related to each other. Cats are on the Feliformia branch of Carnivora while dogs are on the Caniformia branch.

Sadly, humans often mistreat orcas and elephants, despite the fact that they are incredibly intelligent, bonded to their families, and

Because of their grazing habits, size, and gentle disposition, manatees are frequently referred to as the “cows of the sea”—let’s face it, they look like swimming cows. These pairs demonstrate that animals that live on land and in water aren’t all that dissimilar from one another.

Dolphins and humans perceive the world “in fundamentally similar ways.” Thats about as similar as two species can get.

If their expressions aren’t enough to persuade you, observe how entertaining sea lions can be.

You can’t deny they have a lot in common, so maybe this is a cheat.

World Range & Habitat

Sea cats rarely visit estuaries and freshwater rivers in quest of prey, preferring to live along rocky shorelines that are rich in kelp and seaweed. Interestingly, they choose environments with lots of wind and swell, in contrast to other otters that like calmer waters. Shelter can be found in the rocky shorelines’ caverns and cracks; frequently, a den’s land access is cut off during high tide. Sand beaches are only used by sea cats to get from their dens to the water.

Sea cats, Lontra felina, consume mostly invertebrates, crabs, shrimps, mollusks, with some vertebrate prey, including fish from the families Blenniidae, Cheilodactylidae, Gobiesocidae, and Pomacentridae, and occasionally birds and small mammals. Studies along the Valdivian coast in the south of Chile showed that the diet of marine otters consisted of 25 species; 52% (13/25) of the species identified were crustaceans, 40% (10/25) were fish, and 8% (2/25) were mollusks. L. felina showed opportunistic feeding behaviors, selecting prey seasonally according to availability. Some analyses have found that fruits may also be consumed on occasion. Sea cats have also been observed cooperatively feeding on large fish, but it is not known how common this practice is.

Sharks may also prey on marine otters, although killer whales, Orcinus orca, are their most frequent predators. Juveniles may be captured by birds of prey on land.

Sea cats, Lontra felina, breeding occurs in December/January. After 60 to 70 days of gestation, litters of two to five pups each are born in January, February, or March. For roughly ten months, the pups stay with their mother and are occasionally seen swimming on her back in a manner akin to sea otters—that is, on her belly. The pups’ parents feed them and teach them how to hunt.

The sea cat is most likely a monogamous species. Breeding takes place in a den or on shore between rocky outcroppings and vegetation. Outside of breeding season, sea cats are mostly solitary aggregating in groups of two to three individuals.

Conservation Status & Comments

Sea cats, Lontra felina, are listed as are listed as Endangered A3cd. A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the following criteria (A to E), and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Sea cats are rare and protected under Peruvian, Chilean, and Argentine law. In the past, they were extensively hunted both for their fur and due to perceived competition with fisheries, which extirpated sea cats from most of Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Poaching is still a problem, but one of unknown magnitude. It is unknown how many sea cats exist in the wild or what habitats should be preserved to encourage their recovery. They were listed under CITES Appendix I in 1976, and are listed as Endangered by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Because of the estimated future population decline brought on by habitat loss and exploitation, they are listed as Endangered. Sea cat distribution is becoming increasingly fragmented north of 39°S latitude due to increased human occupation along the coast, pollution, and exploitation. Many areas still practice poaching, particularly those south of 39ºS latitude, where protective laws are either rarely or never enforced. Due to over hunting, the species’ original range has significantly shrunk, and it is almost completely gone from the southern Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn regions. These threats are expected to cause future population reductions of at least 20%50% over the next 30% of generations, based on the rates of decline and trends that are currently in place. This is unless conservation measures are strengthened.

FAQ

Are otters in the cat family?

Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of carnivorous mammals that includes skunks, weasels, wolverines, and badgers. The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family, yet the smallest marine mammal in North America.

Are otters called sea cats?

Lontra felina, otherwise known as marine otters or sea cats, is the smallest and most distinct species of the genus Lontra. The average total length of L. felina is 900 mm. The coat is dark on the back and on the sides, and paler ventrally.

What are otters descended from?

Within the weasel family (Mustelidae), otters (Lutrinae) are a recent radiation that originated from terrestrial weasel-like ancestors and evolved into semiaquatic hunters that thrive in freshwater and marine habitats.

What are sea otters closest relatives?

Genetic analysis indicates the sea otter and its closest extant relatives, which include the African speckle-throated otter, Eurasian otter, African clawless otter and Asian small-clawed otter, shared an ancestor approximately 5 million years ago.