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The Playful World of Otters: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 11 November, 2023

Kanika Pruthi

Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

The Playful World of Otters Reading Passage:

Otters, with their charismatic appeal and frolicsome behaviors, have fascinated observers and researchers alike. These semi-aquatic mammals, belonging to the family Mustelidae, are not only skilled hunters but also play a crucial role in their ecosystems. Found in a variety of aquatic habitats, they are known for their impressive ability to use tools, something once thought unique to primates and humans.

The most commonly recognized species, the North American river otter, is a symbol of aquatic health, indicating clean, unpolluted water bodies. Otters have dense fur – about 250,000 to one million hair follicles per square inch, which insulates them against cold waters. This fur requires constant maintenance, and as such, otters are often observed grooming themselves to maintain the insulating quality of their fur.

Otters' diets primarily consist of fish, but many will also eat amphibians, crustaceans, and occasionally small mammals and birds. What is truly remarkable is their use of rocks to crack open shellfish, a skill that exemplifies their problem-solving abilities.

Social structures among otters vary significantly between species. For example, sea otters may float in groups called rafts, sometimes holding paws to stay together, while giant otters in the Amazon basin are more territorial and live in family groups that vigorously defend their territories.

Conservation efforts for otters have seen varying degrees of success. Pollution, habitat destruction, and hunting for their fur have led to the decline of otter populations worldwide. However, through concerted conservation efforts, such as the banning of harmful pesticides and protection of their habitats, some species of otters have begun to make a comeback, serving as a beacon of hope for environmentalists.


Q1. The North American river otter is an indicator of what?

A. Overfishing in rivers

B. Clean, unpolluted water bodies

C. The presence of amphibians

D. High river temperatures

Q2. Fill in the blank: Otters have extremely dense fur, with up to ______ hair follicles per square inch.

Q3. True or False: Otters can only be found in freshwater environments.

Q4. Which tool do otters use to crack open shellfish?

A. Claws

B. Teeth

C. Rocks

D. Sticks

Q5. Fill in the blank: Sea otters may float in groups known as ______.

Q6. True or False: All species of otters have the same social structure.

Q7. What has been a primary cause for the decline of otter populations worldwide?

A. Climate change

B. Pollution and habitat destruction

C. Overfishing

D. Introduction of non-native species

Q8. Fill in the blank: Conservation efforts for otters include the banning of harmful ______ and protection of their habitats.

Q9. True or False: The diet of otters is exclusively fish.

Q10. Fill in the blank: Giant otters in the Amazon basin live in family groups and are ______ about their territory.


A1. B. Clean, unpolluted water bodies

Explanation: River otters are indicators of aquatic health and clean water bodies due to their need for a pristine environment.

A2. one million

Explanation: Otters are known for their dense fur, which is essential for insulation against the cold.

A3. False

Explanation: Otters can thrive in various aquatic habitats, including both freshwater and marine environments.

A4. C. Rocks

Explanation: Otters exhibit the unique behavior of using rocks as tools to open shellfish, showing advanced problem-solving skills.

A5. rafts

Explanation: Sea otters are known to float in groups, referred to as 'rafts', and can often be seen holding paws.

A6. False

Explanation: Otter social structures vary widely among different species.

A7. B. Pollution and habitat destruction

Explanation: Otters have faced population declines primarily due to human activities such as pollution and habitat destruction.

A8. pesticides

Explanation: Banning pesticides that can harm otters has been one of the strategies in conservation efforts.

A9. False

Explanation: While fish constitute a large part of their diet, otters also eat amphibians, crustaceans, and sometimes small mammals and birds.

A10. territorial

Explanation: Giant otters are known for being territorial and live in family groups that defend their territories.

This reading passage and the accompanying questions are designed to mirror the format and intellectual engagement of an IELTS Reading Test. By engaging with the content, learners can hone their reading comprehension skills, expand their vocabulary related to wildlife and conservation, and familiarize themselves with the type of questions that the IELTS exam may present. The explanations following each answer are intended to clarify the correct choice, deepening the student’s understanding of the text and the subject matter. This article serves as a valuable resource in an IELTS test-taker’s preparation toolkit, not only enhancing their test readiness but also their knowledge about the fascinating world of otters.


Kanika Pruthi

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Kanika has 5+ years of experience as a writer and content developer. She has written for a wide range of industry verticals, including hospitality, restaurants, non-profits, finance, IT, HR, technology, payroll, and education. She has worked as a creator for a few leading companies and has also helped brands grow through her creative writing.

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