[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS an amphibious animal, and pursues his prey much swifter in the water than on land. He is less than a beaver, and resembles him in most parts, except the tail. He is of a brown chesnut colour; the tail is short and like that of some dogs. Though he lives, as we may say, in the water, yet he is forced to come often to the surface, to breathe. The fish is his prey; he catches them with great dexterity, and hoards them up in his den, on the banks of rivers, to such a quantity that the smell becomes soon very obnoxious, and often betrays the retirement of the owner. When the icy hand of winter has locked up the ponds and rivers, the Otter, reduced to famine, is obliged to change his diet, and feeds upon fruit, roots, and bark of trees. At the great banquet which Nature has spread on the surface of the globe, affluence alone creates superciliousness, and when it fails, hunger seasons every food; and, except a few classes, which are doomed to use of one particular nourishment, most of the brute creation know then how to supply the want of appropriate aliment.