From the Archives, #36693

BRATTLEBORO — Imagine you are walking near a river and you see a river otter playing in the water, twisting and turning. It is a few feet long, maybe two-three feet. Sleek and dark, tumbling over others of its kind. It looks like it's dancing! Believe it or not, these otters are in danger of getting trapped.

Hi, my name is Luca and I am a fifth grader at Academy school. We are currently studying Vermont river otters. We have been studying them for about a month and have learned a lot. We have also been learning about trapping otters in Vermont.

Trapping otters is wrong. The trapping season goes from late October until the end of March. Most of the traps used kill the otter and any other animal that gets in. Traps are very dangerous for pets and other wild animals, and it is the same for otters. Otters are also trapped in traps intended for other animals, such as beaver. If a trapper traps a mother otter, its pups will die because they can not live without their mother bringing them food. You do need a license to trap Vermont otters, but that does not make trapping any better, because a lot of people will just buy the license and trap otters anyway. Most of the bait used is fish (which many animals like), and when the otter or other animal goes in to get the fish, it is killed, and its pelt is not always even used.

Otters are a very important species to their ecosystem, and if they disappear, the ecosystem will be unbalanced. Otters eat fish and animals which help the ecosystem balance. Otters eat about 25% of their body weight per day! Otters main diet includes fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles and mussels. If it didn't there would be way too many of this kind of animal and not enough plants to go around.

Otters are very interesting animals. A river otters' lifespan is 8-10 years in the wild, and about 25 years in captivity. Otters can live in the winter when the water is frozen. They can breathe through cracks in the ice and sometimes even take over old unused beaver lodges! Otters live in holes, riverbanks, and hollow logs near wetlands, streams, rivers, ponds, and shallow lakes. Otters are very resourceful, but that can not help them when it comes to traps.

Otters are very important to the ecosystem and to me, and learning about people trapping otters has made an impact on me. I hope people will stop trapping them sometime in the near future. Otters are an important part of their ecosystems and humans are just killing for their fur or just for fun. I do not think it should be legal to trap river otters in Vermont. I hope you will agree and take action to help stop trapping otters in Vermont. You can do so by writing to the Fish & Game Department and telling them how you feel.

Otters deserve to be free and not to be in danger of being trapped. I love otters, and I hope that you do too.

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