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Smooth Otter
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


Fig 6



 
 

Order : CARNIVORA
Family : Mustelidae
Species : Lutrogale perspicillata

Head-body length : 52-75 cm
Tail length : 35-45 cm
Weight : 7-11 kg

A medium-sized species, the Smooth Otter inhabits coastal areas such as estuaries and mangroves, and inland water bodies such as lakes and reservoirs. They are usually encountered in family groups of around 4 to 6 individuals which may include near-adult offspring from different breeding seasons. The litter comprises one or two cubs.

They feed on fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Identifying features include the buff-coloured throat and underparts, the short, smooth fur and the hairless nose. The feet are large and webbed, and the tail somewhat flattened.

The Smooth Otter ranges throughout mainland Southeast Asia as far west as India, and in Sumatra. In Singapore small family groups regularly visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.


Fig 1 : An adult pair (male in foreground) keep watch over their unruly pups.

Fig 2 : Smooth Otter pups are highly boisterous and playful.

Fig 3 : The pups return to their parents.

Fig 4 : Muddy mangrove inlet at low tide - a habitat favoured by the Smooth Otter.

(Figs 1 to 4 from Sungei Buloh, Singapore).

Fig 5 : Adult male consuming a fish in a freshwater canal at Byram, Penang state, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 6 : Lone adult consuming a fish in a mangrove inlet on Penang Island, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : M1, M2


Links :
Ring of Bright Water - A Close Encounter
with the Otters of Sungei Buloh


Conservation Links :
IUCN Otter Specialist Group
International Otter Survival Fund