Microscopy Primer
Light and Color
Microscope Basics
Special Techniques
Digital Imaging
Confocal Microscopy
Live-Cell Imaging
Microscopy Museum
Virtual Microscopy
Web Resources
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Site Info
Contact Us

The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Chip Shots
DNA Gallery
Amino Acids
Religion Collection
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

Polarized Light Microscopy Digital Image Gallery

Otter Hair

Often a favorite sight at zoos because of their playful nature, even adult otters seem to enjoy sliding down banks into water and sociably playing games of “follow the leader.” Highly trainable when efforts begin early, these members of the weasel family Mustelidae can also be taught a number of entertaining tricks by humans.

Inhabitants of all the continents of the world with the exception of Australia, four different genera of otters have been identified, the species of which vary somewhat. Some, for instance, are freshwater animals, while others inhabit the sea, and the color of their coats and the size of their bodies may differ considerably. All otters, however, have webbed feet and are excellent swimmers, which can journey for about a quarter of a mile underwater before they must surface to breathe. They are also capable of traveling surprisingly fast by land, though they prefer to remain in the water, where they commonly feed up fish, frogs, and other small aquatic creatures.

One of the most valuable commodities in the fur industry, the fur of the otter consists of two different layers. The outer layer is composed of tightly knit guard hairs that form a watertight barrier between the animal and its environment. The underfur of the otter is even denser than the guard hairs and, in fact, at as many as one million hairs per square inch, is believed to be the thickest fur of any mammal on the planet. When this underfur is in good condition and well groomed, it is capable of trapping an insulating layer of air, keeping the otter’s skin dry and protected from the cold of surrounding water.



Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2022 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 02:19 PM
Access Count Since November 20, 2003: 14207
For more information on microscope manufacturers,
use the buttons below to navigate to their websites: