Mighty whiskers help otters see in the dark

July 19, 2014, 1 p.m.
otter with whiskers

Photo: Tambako The Jaguar/MNN Flickr Group

Long whiskers are real life-savers

This photo perfectly shows off the many whiskers of a river otter. As a mammal that gets much of its food by hunting in murkey water, these whiskers perform an important task. They act as an otter's sense of sight and touch, helping otters to "see" in dark, muddy water. The highly sensitive whiskers can not only alert otters to prey when they touch it, but can also pick up on underwater vibrations to help an otter home in on the movements and location of prey. Whiskers make otters a much more successful hunter, and let's face it, they add a whole other level of cute to these already adorable critters.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.