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Do Otters Mate for Life?

Their mating habits are less than cute — with one exception.

Sea otters are known for adorably holding hands to keep from drifting apart while they sleep in the rough ocean waves.

There's pretty much nothing cuter.

do otters mate for life


But is this humanistic relationship behavior a sign of more? Do otters mate for life?

Buckle up, because these cuddly creatures are anything but cute when it comes to pairing off.


According to Oceana, these hand-holding sea mammals are polygynous.

That means the females only mate with one male, but the males can mate with as many females as they want. However, since a female otter chooses only one male, this creates competition that can lead to some undesirable results.

According to BBC, many male sea otters are unable to successfully court a female otter, and they don't get the chance to mate in their lifetimes.

Others have taken to attempting to find a partner outside their species, and there have been reports of sea otters forcibly trying to mate with baby seals, per Vox.

Sadder still is that the sea otter mating process is so violent that many female sea otters can't survive it.


As Slate reported, male sea otters bite down on the female's face to hold on during mating, which helped lead to 11 percent of dead sea otter cases from 2000 to 2003.

Fortunately, not all otters are terrible partners.


According to the Australia Zoo, Asian small-clawed otters, which are a type of river otter, do mate for life. They pick one partner, can have two litters per year and can produce up to 12 more cute, monogamous otters annually.

Need a pick-me-up? Watch the video below of a pair of happily mated-for-life Asian small-clawed otters.

It will renew your love for the species.

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