'Murderous' Otters Spark Internet Fight

Take a stand!

Otter Eats An Alligator

Uh, so everything you thought about otters being the cuddliest animal ever is probably torn apart after seeing this image. Crocodiles, beware: you might be next.Geoff Walsh via Facebook

Where do you stand in the War of the Otters? The first volley came in the form of a post at Vox titled "The case against otters: necrophiliac, serial-killing fur monsters of the sea." In the post, writer Dylan Matthews explained various things about otters, and listed several reasons why the animals are, in Matthews' opinion, "jerks": they kill baby otters; they have (on rare occasions) attacked people, monkeys, and alligators; and they sometimes copulate with dead otters (and baby seals).

Then The Dodo writer Jenny Kutner responded with a post, "5 Reasons You Should Never Believe That Otters Are Anything But Awesome," pointing out that otters aren't humans, and that most of Matthews' points were based on anthropomorphic interpretations of otter behavior. Kutner also rightfully pointed out that otter populations are threatened worldwide.

Just today (April 29), there's a story that toxic algae blooms are killing otters in California, and another about how a giant dam is affecting river otters in Brazil.

I sought out an otter perspective on this fierce internet battle, but unfortunately otters don't speak human languages. Otterly frustrating.

In the mean time, there will be a 33-hour live cam of otters tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET, as mentioned by The Week:

If you're going to spend the next 33 hours of your life staring at the otter cam, make sure you look for Ulto. The cuddly furry friend became internet famous last year for his human-like expressions. The staff at the Miyajima Public Aquarium hopes the stunt shines light on how otters live, even if they are ferocious beasts.

Watch the otter cam here.

And just for fun, below is a PBS Nature video about otters holding hands.