Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Aonyx cinera

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Quick Facts
Body Length:
Weight:
26 to 37 inches; Tail length: 10 to 14 inches

2.2 to 11 lbs
Wild diet: Primarily curstaceans, mollusks, amphibians and small fish.
Zoo Diet: Cat chow, crickets, fish such as capelin, smelt, and minnows; clams, crayfish, and mealworms.
Distribution: Indonesia, Souther China, Southern India, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia.
Habitat: Shallow estruaries or rice paddies, coastal mangrove and tidal pools, river, creeks, swamps; generally where water is shallow for foraging opportunities

Asian small-clawed otters are diurnal (active during the day) in undisturbed areas and mainly nocturnal (active at night) near human activities. They live in loose family groups of about 12 individuals. Play serves to reinforce social bonds and also helps young otters to perfect their hunting and fighting techniques. Otters that are observed "playfully" swimming, rubbing on a log, or rolling on a pile of leaves may in fact be rubbing themselves dry or placing a scent mark. Asian small-clawed otters have a vocabulary of 12 or more calls.

Description

Asian small-clawed otters are brown with paler underparts and sometimes white markings on the face, throat, and chest. Their feet are narrow and webbed only to the last toe joint. Their claws are small and peglike and do not extend beyond the digital pads. Their underfur is dense, and the long guard hairs are water-repellent. They have a number of stiff whiskers around their nose and snout. They have tufts on the elbows. These hairs are sensitive to water movement and are used in searching for prey. Their small ears are round and, like the nostrils, closed when underwater. Their tail is tapered and flattened on the underside.They are the smallest otters in the world.

Status in the Wild

Asian small-clawed otters are threatened by destruction of their habitats due to deforestation, settlement, agriculture, the draining of peat swamp forests, and the destruction of coastal mangroves for aquaculture.

Conservation Programs
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