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Playful Otter

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The more the merrier.

"What are you?"
"I'm an otter."
"And what do you do?"
"I swim around on my back and do cute little human things with my hands."
"You're free to go."

Otters are rather funny-looking animals, what with their long, slender bodies, cute faces, and the way they crack clamshells on their bellies. But what makes them even more adorable, is their playful demeanor. Otters often wrestle, slide and play with their food — actually, they mostly use those fun activities as a way to improve their survival tactics. But still, it's a fun way to do it!

When used in fiction, otter characters are usually Fun Personified. They are usually depicted as playful, energetic, kind-hearted, optimistic and laid-back, sometimes even mischievous. Otters spend a lot of time in water, so expect them to be good swimmers, who love to have fun in water. Sometimes this overlaps with Surfer Dude (but otters are usually much more clever, rarely The Ditz). Often there can be a playful antagonism with beavers such as the boistrous otters getting in the way of the workaholic rodents engaged in their usual serious labors.


To recap, if an otter is portrayed in fiction with a joyous, playful or mischievous personality, it's this trope. Truth in Television, except for the Surfer Dude part.

Also, they sound like squeaky toys.

Compare Sweet Seal, Warm-Hearted Walrus, Weasel Mascot, and Frisky Ferret.

Examples of this trope:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Episode 2 of the Kemono Friends anime gives us Small-clawed Otter, who employs this trope in full. She's an otter, she plays with everything she can get her hands on, tries to find the fun in everything they're doing, among other things that make her a full-blown otter.
  • In Killing Bites, Yui Okawa is an otter beastwoman who runs an eating show channel on Youtube. She's cheerful, ditzy and energetic, but enters the King of Killing Bites tournament to eat the other competitors as she fights them. Faced with a giant alligator-man, she suffers from incontinence out of happiness and keeps getting distracted while striking goofy poses but outwits him at every turn and chokes him out cold after further transforming into a psychotic-looking Siamogale melilutra giant otter.
    "Killing Bites is much tougher than I figured. At least it lived up to the promise of a live all-you-can-eat buffet. I imagine my subscriber count has exploded by now. *makes a "Silly Me" Gesture* Somehow, this is very Meshiuma TV~!"
  • Mr. 13 of One Piece subverts this trope. He's a small brown otter in sunglasses and a white onesie with purple spots... who also happens to be an agent of the criminal organization Baroque Works. He's at his most dangerous with his two bladed shell weapons and his partner the violent vulture Ms. Friday at his side.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Lutri, The Spellchaser is a hybrid between an otter and an elemental - if that seems like an odd combination to you, welcome to Ikoria. It has the otter's classic playful and mischievous streak, combined with a fascination with magic and the ability to duplicate any spell it can "catch." The fact that it will only become your Companion if you have no more than one of any card in your deck, however, implies that it's easily bored and will only forge an eludha bond with a similarly spontaneous mage. It immediately became the most popular of all fifteen Companion creatures before it was even released, but that might have less to do with it's cuteness than the fact that it's abilities make it a Game-Breaker in Commander format; Lutri actually holds the distinct honor of being the first creature banned from a format before it was acutally released.

    Film - Animated 
  • Animalympics features among its athletes a Surfer Dude otter named Dean Wilson. Fer shyuuuure!
  • Finding Dory: Towards the end of the film, Marlin, Nemo and friends enlists the help of a bunch of friendly otters to start a "cuddle party" in the middle of the streets, in order to stop the Marine Institute's Transport from taking Dory away. It works.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The 1969 film Ring Of Bright Water features an executive (Bill Travers, of Born Free fame) whose life is transformed when he acquires a pet otter, Mij. This otter is rather mischievous and adventurous, which leads to many adventures.

    Folklore and Mythology 
  • In Japanese folklore, otters are capable of shapeshifting and performing other tricks to play pranks on humans, much like Kitsune and Tanuki.

  • When Mercer Mayer created the Little Critter Spin-Off LC and the Critter Kids, one of the critter kids was a Surfer Dude otter named Slick Rick (no, not that Rick).
  • Every book in the Redwall series features several otters. Usually led by one named Skipper, they tend to dress and talk like local Seafaring People. The Redwall wiki describes them as playful. The most playful one would probably be Cheek from Mattimeo. They also have a penchant for using ambushes and javelins, and are absolutely not to be trifled with. Of the various good species, otters are probably the third most dangerous (after badgers and hares).
  • The Wind in the Willows: Otter is probably the Trope Codifier, always willing to lend a hand and always friendly except if you screw over his friends as a rabbit found out when he was braving the wildwood. The only other character to brave the wildwood is Badger.
  • In the Winnie the Pooh book Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the only new character is an otter named Lottie, who was described in a preview article as "feisty".
  • The Treasure Tree is the name of a book showing the four personality distinctions of (roughly) Leader, Scientist, People Person, and Fun Guy. These are shown with the animals of, respectively, Lion, Beaver, Golden Retriever, and Otter.
  • Ring of Bright Water again; the original autobiographical book by Gavin Maxwell, who also wrote a children's version called The Otter's Story. Incidentally, Mijbil turned out to be a previously unknown subspecies, now known as Maxwell's Smooth-Coated Otter, or Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli.
  • Mudge, the Loveable Rogue in the Spellsinger novels, and (in later books) his family. In one book it's mentioned that one otter can focus on something serious for a while, but two or more otters is a permanent party.
  • In Hector Hugh Munroe (aka "Saki")'s short story, "Laura," the merry-hell-raising heroine is reincarnated as an otter, and continues to raise merry hell.
  • The Mad House of Otter in The Book of the Dun Cow are careless, sloppy enemies of the fierce but courageous weasels.
  • Otter of the Franklin books and Animated Adaptation is shown as being this.
  • In the Norwegian children's book series Samson & Roberto, in which the cast is comprised of Funny Animals, one of the main characters is a female otter named Olli, who works as the resident repairwoman — at least when she's not fooling around and acting hyper and silly just for the hell of it. She is a supreme repairwoman, though.
  • The absolutely adorable (and mischievous) fenlings of The Belgariad.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hermione learns her patronus takes this form when she manages to produce a corporeal one and it happily bounds around the room.
  • The protagonists of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas are of course, otters, who are playful and kind-hearted folks, and sing really well to boot. The Jim Henson puppet adaptation is a Christmas special with a huge following.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting has urban otters colonizing London. Their natural cheekiness has developed into criminal behavior such as pickpocketing and blagging money by claiming to be a neighbor who was locked out of the house.
  • Cabin Pressure: As per the Alphabetical Theme Naming of each episode, Douglas, Martin and Arthur find themselves visiting Ottery St. Mary, and, as per the Running Gag, start playing games to entertain themselves- namely, trying to work out how many otters they could use to fill up their plane. That said, the "playful" aspect is played with in a story Douglas makes up to impress Arthur: he claims that the Saint Mary the eponymous town is named after was consumed alive by wild otters, but in the more modern, family-friendly artistic depictions, the otters are just gathering around her feet lovingly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Mystara has the Jorries, otters with fish-like tails. While sapient, they're described as generally behaving like ordinary otters, relaxing in fair weather and frolicking in storms. They tend to have a good rapport with sailors, and come to the rescue of those in danger on the open sea.

    Video Games 
  • Jak and Daxter has Daxter who was turned into an Ottsel (half otter, half weasel). He's a funny bumbling sidekick and a major Butt-Monkey whenever he gets a bit annoying.
  • Oshawott, the water starter in Pokémon Black and White and the sequels. Although it does fight if attacked, it still has a playful side as well. Its evolutions, Dewott and Saumurott, avert it, because they're tougher and stronger and not playful.
  • Digital Media had a line of games starring an excitable young cartoon sea otter named Ozzie and a gang of other international critters. Their games were mainly used to teach children about foreign culture (the Ozzie's Travels line, but there were other games in the field as well, including a science one and an environment one.
  • In Spyro: A Hero's Tail Spyro meets an otter Surfer Dude who needs his help to refill a drained pond with water so he can surf again.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] has the Juggle Pup and R&R Seal Dream Eaters, who are a otter-seal mixture with gambling as their theme. They're always happy chaps who treat the battlefield as a game, and their Limit Break has them and Sora play a game of dice.
  • Sylas in Armello is an inversion of the archetype. In a game that is already easy to describe as "Game of Thrones but with cartoon animals instead", Sylas the otter has by far the darkest backstory, which has left him as a hollow, hateful husk motivated solely by a desire to murder the one responsible for his cruel fate.

  • Matt, the Dogged Nice Guy of Hodges Pond.
  • Bayshore from Dogs Days Of Summer.
  • A Sunday strip of Kevin & Kell showed an otter doing a boring office job, with the punchline that this was his vacation from being a Playful Otter.
  • Scrambles the Tequila Monster from Questionable Content, an alcohol induced hallucination that haunts the cast in the form of a giant purple otter.

    Western Animation 
  • In Franklin there is a female otter named Otter, who is friends with Franklin and characterized as a silly, fun-loving goof. Unfortunately, she moves away very early on in the series, to Franklin's dismay, but she does return for a visit in a later episode (where she is voiced by Marieve Herington).
  • The animated series version of Little Bear has a group of playful otters that show up occasionally.
  • Marlene from The Penguins of Madagascar, the spin-off TV series of the DreamWorks Animation Madagascar, is The Chick to the four male penguins.
  • In the South Park episode "Go God Go", various future timelines include hyperintelligent otters as one faction.
  • The titular characters of PB&J Otter.

     Otter ... er, Other 
  • Otters are used to aid fishers in some parts of Bangladesh; they chase fish into nets.
  • Otters holding hands.
  • The editors at Slate think that otters are jerks. They might be somewhat correct; otters are territorial creatures, and attacks do happen on rare occasion. 42 otter attacks on humans have been recorded in Florida since 1875, with one confirmed death. There was a well-publicized attack of a person by a swarm of otters in Singapore in 2021, but they suspected another person accidentally stepped on one of the otter's tails while running.

Alternative Title(s): Everythings Better With Otters, Everythings Wetter With Otters