Hot Topic Tuesday: You otter know

Here at H.T. Tuesday, no subject, no matter how controversial, is off limits. This one hasn’t really gripped the public imagination on a midterm elections or Lady Gaga’s meat dress level yet, but it’s definitely bubbling under. Pretty soon, this debate will explode onto the national stage, and I think we should be prepared. I am talking, of course, about the fierce debate over which is cooler: the otter or the giant otter? I have attempted to break this complex issue down into a sensible list of pros and cons, steering clear of the heated emotions that often cloud such issues.

OTTER (just a normal otter, say the northern river otter of North America or the Eurasian otter)


Cute and endearing; more so than the giant otter, which could frankly be a little intimidating in person

Very clever

An able fisherman!

Sleek, shiny, shampoo-commercial-quality fur


On the Wild Animal Fight Chart, an otter could probably take, like, a rabbit. Even a very small predatory cat, like an ocelot, would be out of its league. Unless they were fighting in the water, in which case the ocelot would be screwed. (Otters are like the Aquaman of nature’s Superfriends!) The Wild Animal Fight Chart is mostly land-based, though, and beating a rabbit isn’t very impressive.

Similarly, their small size (like a cat, basically) is a problem in terms of lifting and pulling things. They would definitely need a cart to get their stuff through an airport, for example.

Fishy smell


“Seriously, lady, if you don’t put me down, I’m’a kick your butt.”

They are just as clever as other otters, and their fur is just as lustrous. They are equally skilled at fishing, but due to their large size (up to six feet!), they can catch much larger fish. Heck, they could probably capture a child on a float toy!

They enjoy a similar advantage on the Wild Animal Fight Chart. A full-grown giant otter could take anything up to, say, an Ewok.

They live in the Amazon. The animals there be ballers, yo. That is like the NBA of the animal world, and giant otters have some LeBron to ’em—they snack on piranhas!

Come on, it’s a giant otter… Those words are both cool. Put ‘em together and they own it!


Bigger otter = bigger fishy smell

Too big to really “play well with others.” There aren’t a lot of places you could hang out with a giant otter without causing a commotion. A dog run and a fancy seafood restaurant are just two examples of trips that would go downhill fast.

More impressive but less cute, which is sort of a pro/con hybrid

In Conclusion:

And so there you have it. You can see why this is such a hot topic. I’ve been over the list many times now, and there are compelling cases for both the otter and the giant otter. So which is cooler? I say [drumroll please . . .] the giant otter! What do you think?


Micol Ostow said...

I'm gonna take a stand and put it out there in favor of the otter-classic (ie: the NON-giant variety). So cute!

Kate said...

OMG Otters are my favorite animal, you just made my day. My vote: All otters are AMAZING! :)

Lydia Sharp said...

I had no idea there was such a thing as "giant" otters. Kinda scary. :-/

Michael Northrop said...

Micol: A bold stand, indeed! Score one for the underdog, er, underotter.
Kate: Also a good vote (and the inimitable sea otters will be glad to be included)!
Lydia: Yeah, they are looking into getting a new PR firm. The old one just isn't getting it done...

Lisa Schroeder said...

This is SO timely. In my next YA, there are otters in there!! Really! The giant kind - as they are at an aquarium.

But, uh, I didn't call them giant otters. I just called them otters. I hope the giant otters don't come after me if they read it.

kristen tracy said...

I've always felt my animal totem is the otter. So this question feels very personal to me. Living in the Amazon being burdened by my largeness seems like a bummer. Even if the world was ending (being giant I'd need more fish and would there be enough piranhas to sustain me?) I think the giant otter faces more obstacles. The classic otter would probably be rescued right away. I mean, he could fit in a box and probably ride on public transportation (which is the main way i travel in San Francisco). No question. Otter v Giant Otter. I choose Otter.

Michael Northrop said...

Lisa: That is so cool—and they won't mind at all! Giant otters really like the idea that they are the default "otters" and feel strongly that the normal kind should have the modifier (possible "puny" or "snack-sized" otters).

Kristen: I knew you would have some strong and informed opinions on this one! Yes, the giant otter has more obstacles, end-of-the-world-wise, but it is also only a minor mutation or two away from being a real apocalyptic power player. (And you just know that mutations are going to be flying around willy-nilly at that point.)

Jeff Hirsch said...

Gotta go giant otter. I can't get past their ability to, as you say, capture a small child. That's just a killer stat. That said, the luster of an otter's coat is also important to me, so maybe if the regular otter could up that stat in the off season I'd reconsider.

Michael Northrop said...

Hey, Jeff. That seems like both a solid choice and a fair-minded approach. Those li'l otters will do it, too. They're probably headed for the nearest salon right now!

Taylor said...

I vote for the little guy!

Michael Northrop said...

Ack! Their powerful cuteness is proving difficult to overcome! The giant otters may have to put on silly hats or something to compete...

Carly Reads said...

I too am a fan of the little otter. And by the way, this post made the first day of finals week a whole lot more bearable ... thanks!

Denise Jaden said...

All I really know about otters is what my husband tells me about from his personality-type studies. Gary Smalley divides humans into four categories of personalities (or combination thereof): the lion (driver), the otter (fun-loving), the golden retriever (caring), and the beaver (responsible).

My husband is a giant otter, and while he can be quite endearing, he can also be a little too much fun at times (and yes, there is such a thing). So I say one otter is enough and I choose not to vote for another!

Michael Northrop said...

Hi, Carly: The otters asked me to pass on a message to you: "Thanks for your vote, and good luck with finals!"

Denise: Those are all conspicuously excellent animals... (Where's the single-minded earthworm?) It's very cool that your husband is a giant otter, though. That reminds me of my friend from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He is half otter and half race horse, which is to say, his fadder is an otter, and his mudder is a mudder.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I totally <3 the little lol otter!! He's too cute. The giant otter is a little too much otter for me. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Michael Northrop said...

Too much otter?! How is that possible? Haha! Too much frog, I could see. Too much sea cucumber or too much killer bee swarm, too. But as far as I'm concerned, the more otter, the better!

Melissa Walker said...

I believe we're seeing a classic gender line being drawn here. I too am voting little otter, because: Cuter. Easier to imagine snuggling. Less stinky (if only because it's smaller).

Michael Northrop said...

So true! I know you're all like: 'Boys and their giant otters...' *eye roll*. Darn it, Brent: Get on here and vote!

For the record, I would agree with that approach for some species. Like if it was black widow spider vs. giant black widow spider, I would definitely vote for the regular kind (and then step on it).

Sara said...

I'm way late to the debate, but the cute wins for me every time. Cute little otter gets my vote.

Michael Northrop said...

What? Another vote for the not-at-all-giant-basically-completely-normal otter? It is a conspiracy, I tell you: a conspiracy of cute!

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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