Male vs Female Otters: 4 Key Differences

There are 13 extant species of animals in the Lutrinae subfamily, which includes otters. Every otter is a carnivorous, partially or completely aquatic animal. It might be challenging to distinguish male and female otters at first glance, unlike certain other mammals like lions and elephant seals, where there are clear and striking visual differences between the sexes (sexual dimorphism). Still, there are a few obvious hints that can be helpful. Discover the four main distinctions between male and female otters as you read on!

1. Size: Length and Weight

Male otter adults tend to be slightly longer and heavier than female otter adults in almost all species. People of any gender, however, are not always larger or smaller than these statistical norms.

2. Visible Reproductive Equipment: Teats and Testes

Mother otters give milk to their babies since they are mammals. Adult female otter species have two pairs of visible nipples. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is one exception; typically, they have just one pup, hence they only have one set of teats. In contrast, the scrotum of male otters is clearly apparent.

3. Latrine Habits: Pee and Poop

Observing the toilet habits of adult male and female otters may be an intriguing way to distinguish between the two species. The San Diego Zoo attests that this technique is effective for sexing giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), pointing out that male otters frequently bisect and have a wider space between their urine and faecal streams. On the other hand, females tend to stay parallel and have a smaller space between these streams. This is probably also the case for otter species, since all of them have identically equipped men and females.

4. Parental Care: Moms and Dads

In most otter species, the mother is the only one who provides parental care. Nonetheless, certain species—like the giant otter—raise their offspring jointly with both parents. Even yet, the female of the species produces all of the milk.

In summary

Because there isn’t much sexual dimorphism in otters, it can frequently be challenging to distinguish between males and females. On average, guys may weigh slightly more than females, though this varies from person to person. Seeing what parts of their undersides are visible (teats or testes), observing how they urinate and defecate, and observing who is caring for the pups are additional more accurate methods of differentiating between the sexes.

Highlights of the Key Differences of Male vs Female Otters:

Trait Difference Notes
Size males a bit longer/heavier on average most species
Visible Reproductive Parts teats on females (usually two pairs), testes on males all species; female sea otters have one pair of teats
Latrine Habit males have larger gap between & bisection of urine & fecal streams studied in giant otters, likely true for all species based on similar anatomy
Parental Care females care for pups most species; only a few in which males participate in pup rearing; females always nurse