Otter Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Otter Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Cute and playful, it’s hard to see an otter on TV or at the zoo without cracking a smile. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about these friendly creatures, going into their history, meanings associated with them, and designs that transform them from living creature into deeply personal skin art that can last a lifetime.

Let’s talk about otters and otter tattoos!

Untitled-1 copy

What is the History of Otter Tattoos?

According to fossil records, Otters have been around since the Miocene era, placed in a wide range of 5 to 23 million years ago! That’s pretty impressive and it’s no surprise that these little mischief-makers of the waterways have made their way into myths around the world.

For instance, in the Ainu culture, Otters were the reason that mankind is imperfect. They say that when God was creating humankind, he asked an Otter swimming by to tell one of the other gods to finish our creation.

The otter promised to do so, but soon found himself playing in the waterways and stretching out to take in some sun. Due to this, mankind was ‘never finished’ and remains imperfect to this day. In Native American culture, Otter is viewed quite differently, as a symbol of loyalty and trust, but also a trickster when it suits him.

You’ll even find them in Viking tales, such as one where Loki kills an otter with a stone and it sets in motion the famous curse of the Nibelung cycle. That’s just a taste of the history, though. These playful little creatures made their way into our hearts and cultures a long time ago and they’ve been there ever since!

Untitled-2 copy

What Do Otter Tattoos Symbolize?

Otters most often symbolize a playful nature which is friendly and almost never aggressive. They can also symbolize a certain grace, with the way that they effortlessly move through the rivers and they hunt their meals, play, and enjoy the water.

With the Native American stories, Otter tattoos can also symbolize a friendly trickster, who will likely have a little fun with you but won’t hurt you in the process.

As they are found in rivers, they can also represent a love of freshwater and feeling close to Nature and its waterways.

There are a lot of interpretations, but aside from the Ainu claim that our species suffered a bit for their playfulness and a few Viking tales warning about otters being potential shapeshifters or spirits of the dead, otters and otter tattoos are almost always viewed with friendly thoughts and smiles.

Untitled-3 copy

What Do Otter Tattoos Mean?

Otter tattoos usually mean that the owner has a playful and perhaps even a mischievous nature. Just as the creatures love to show off their skills in the water and lose themselves in play, so the wearer of an otter tattoo is likely a person who has a friendly philosophy and who makes the most of enjoying their life.

Otter tattoos might also mean that their wearer loves freshwater and probably has some strong nostalgic ties associated with it, and some might wear them simply as a way to show us that Nature isn’t always so cold—sometimes she’s sweet as can be!

What you depict with the otter in your own otter tattoo will help to define the meaning, as will the otter itself. Yours might look happy or heartbroken, for instance, and what you choose is what will ultimately decide what it means to others and what it secretly means to you.

Untitled-4 copy

Characteristics and Styles of Otter Tattoos

Let’s face it, otters are a fun choice, and there’s so many things that you can do with otter tattoos that they never get old. You could depict a Japanese style otter, gracefully swimming or as play in a surreally perfect nature scene, or a cartoony New School juggling in the middle of a river.

Photorealistic tattoos can capture their sleek, water-perfect skin, and the sheer joy of life in their eyes, or you could depict the Nibelung scene where Loki hurls a stone at an otter that wasn’t a true otter!

Think about what your own otter is going to say about you or what aesthetics you want to portray and that will give you a good starting point.

These creatures have a lot of positive associations around the world so it’s hard to go wrong, but if you force yourself to think on it for a week you definitely won’t regret it!

Untitled-5 copy

Where Do Otter Tattoos Usually Go?

Otters will be recognized for what they are whether you depict them in a large, grand fashion, such as many otters at play in an elaborate backpiece, or even in the form of a tiny otter-shaped silhouette playing on your hip or on your outer arm.

They’ve been a part of our history for so long, that no matter where you decide to put them or what you depict, you’re sure to get a smile from anyone who lays eyes upon it.

If you’re bold enough and love otters, you could even put a tiny otter on each finger, or if you find a sort of spiritual kinship with these creatures and what they represent, you could put a stylized otter weaved-into a tribal design to give it a more powerful impact.

You’ve definitely got possibilities with Otter tattoos, so honor the animal and it’s spirit by making the decision to have fun with this option – your tattoo will be all the better for it.

Untitled-6 copy

Some final words on Otter Tattoos

Playful, mischievous, and a herald of joy for kids and adults alike, Otters are just plain fun and a perfect subject for skin art for the right person. Take a look at an otter video now if you don’t believe us – you’ll smile, no matter how bad your day has been up until now and that’s nothing short of magical.

If you have a playful and mischievous spirit, or simply love Nature, especially it’s waterways, both freshwater and salt, or simply want a pick-me-up on your skin that will cheer and motivate you for the rest of your days, then the Otter might just be a perfect fit for your next amazing tattoo!

Leave a Reply