If you have actually a pond top top your residential property or live close to a human body of water, girlfriend may start to notification signs that wildlife living near the water. But is that creature you only caught a glimpse of an otter, a beaver, or other else? What is the difference in between an otter and a beaver, and what are some of the methods you can tell castle apart? Keep analysis to find out more!

Otter Vs. Beaver Vs. Muskrat


Both otters and also beavers have actually some similarities with each other and also with the muskrat, a associated animal. If you were to see any of them from a distance, you could think castle were all the same animal.

You are watching: What is the difference between an otter and a beaver

If you could get a tiny closer, though, friend would find that they room not so challenging to phone call apart after all. You just need to recognize what you’re looking for.

With that in mind, stop talk about some of the physical differences in between otters, beavers, and muskrats.


Otters room long, thin, and also athletically built. The shape of your body offers them a sleek, centralized appearance and, as a result, they are exceptionally fast and graceful swimmers.

An otter’s body shape is one of the easiest methods to phone call it except beavers and also muskrats, and its tail is an additional easy sign. Otters have long, rounded tails, and also their tails space covered in short fur.

There are additionally ways of telling whether an otter lives in the area just by looking roughly the area where it lives.

Check your regional pond or stream for smooth areas going indigenous the financial institution into the water. These smooth areas are well-known as “otter slides” and also are caused by the otter generally entering and also exiting the water in the same spot.

Otters may likewise leave behind areas of fish bones and also scales because they often tend to eat in the exact same spot over and over again. when they nothing generally cause a many of damages to the trees and also wildlife of your habitats, otters eat many fish and also may diminish the it is provided from their regional pond.

Lastly, otters often tend to be a lot noisier 보다 beavers and also muskrats. If girlfriend hear a most barking-type noises that don’t sound choose the neighborhood dogs, then there’s a an excellent chance friend may have otters life in your area.


Beavers are the largest of the three animals; the average adult beaver weighs between 40 and 60 pounds. Beavers have actually a lot rounder, much less athletic shape than otters, and also they don’t swim virtually as fast.

Beavers are recognized for the dams and also lodges they build from rocks, logs, mud, and tree branches. several of these structures can be exceptionally extensive, choose the one discovered in Alberta, Canada and discussed in the complying with video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btcS-_Wizp0Video can’t be loaded since JavaScript is disabled: The best Beaver Dam in the World! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btcS-_Wizp0)

As you could imagine, beavers can reason obvious and severe tree damage. In fact, if over there is a family members of beavers living in her area, you will certainly probably know it simply based on the quantity of trees that have actually been chewed down.

Another difference in between beavers and otters is the beavers room herbivores; they don’t eat fish or various other animals. they will, however, eat a wide selection of other things, consisting of tree bark, clover, grasses, water plants, and also even human being crops.



Muskrats room the smallest pet on this list; at first glance, lock may appear like small beavers, yet they only weigh around 2 to 4 pounds at maturity. Muskrats room moderate swimmers; they nothing swim as fast as otters yet are generally quicker than beavers.

Despite their similarity in appearance to beavers, muskrats have actually a much various looking tail. Whereas the beaver’s tail is horizontally flat (like a paddle), the muskrat’s tail is flattened vertically; that is additionally much longer and also thinner, a small but favor a rat’s tail.

Also uneven beavers, muskrats don’t construct dams. Instead, they create burrows into the sloping financial institutions of ponds, lakes, rivers, and other wetland areas.

According come Clemson University, if there are a most muskrats in an area, your burrows might weaken the bank, potentially leading to it to cavern in.

Do Otters construct Dams?

It’s a relatively common vision to see otters hanging out approximately the dams and also lodges that beavers build. For this reason, it’s simple to assume the otters room actually the people responsible for building the dams and also lodges.

The truth is, otters don’t construct dams, but they are perfectly happy to make use of old abandoned beaver dams. Sometimes, lock don’t also wait till the beavers have actually moved away.

Otters might use beaver dams to escape from bigger predators or together a ar to sit and also eat. Because beaver dams usually create areas of standing water, they might trap big numbers that fish, for this reason the otters then have accessibility to a numerous food source as well as the shelter detailed by the dams.

Beavers nothing seem to mind share their space with otters; many of the time both types tend to leave each various other alone.

Do Beavers Swim favor Otters?


Beavers and also otters have really different swim styles and patterns.

For one thing, beavers swim much much more slowly 보다 otters. Your bodies are much more rounded and also do not move as quickly or quickly through the water.

Otters often tend to relocate like fish in the water, utilizing their bodies and tail more than your paws. Beavers likewise use your bodies and tails, however they perform a lot much more paddling with their back feet than otters do.

That said, both beavers and also otters are great swimmers.

Are Beavers and also Otters Friends?

We’ve currently discussed how otters generally live around beaver dams and also in beaver ponds. This would offer the impression that, in general, beavers and otters acquire along pretty well.

That is true because that the most part, however it can be a bit of an overstatement come say that beavers and otters room “friends.”

Beavers and also otters that live in the same area have actually what is dubbed a commensal relationship. This way that among the species is benefited by the relationship, while the various other one is unaffected.

Beavers are usually unaffected by the visibility of otters in their territory, if the otters benefit from the shelter of beaver dams and the plentiful supply the fish. In ~ least, this is commonly the case; similar to everything, there are exceptions come the rule.

Technically, otters are likewise considered predators the beavers, together they have actually been known to eat them. This happens only rarely, and typically only in situations of food shortage.

So space beavers and also otters friends? not exactly, however they do gain along nice well most of the time.


Beavers and otters are straightforward to phone call apart as lengthy as you understand what she looking for. Otters space slimmer and move easily through the water, if beavers are an ext rounded and swim more slowly.

See more: How Many Gummy Bears In A Haribo Bag, 4 Oz, Haribo Gold

Otters tend to leave fish bones and “otter slides” around their territory, if beavers leaving chewed tree stumps and also other tree damage. Both animals live near the water and also are experienced swimmers.