I love otters, and I hope that you do, too

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 2 to 3 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 have been studying Vermont river otters for about a month, and we have learned a lot.

We have also been learning about trapping otters in Vermont, where the trapping season goes from late October until the end of March. You do need a license to trap Vermont otters, but that does not make trapping any better. Trapping otters is wrong.

• 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, her pups will die because they cannot live without their mother bringing them food.

• 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 about 25% of their body weight per day! Their main diet includes fish, frogs, crayfish, turtles and mussels, which help the ecosystem balance.

Otters are very interesting animals.

• A river otters' lifespan is eight to 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 cannot 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 soon.

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 start by writing to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department ([email protected]) 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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