Asian Small-clawed Otter

Asian Small-clawed OtterOther Names: Oriental Short-clawed Otter
Scientific Name: Aonyx cinerea
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Body Length: 45–61 cm
Weight: 1–5 kg
Gestation: 60–64 days
Number of young: 1–6

Distribution: North-west India to south-east China, Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Sumatra
Habitat: Rivers, streams, lakes, rice paddies and estuaries.

Description: The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest of the otters. Its short, sleek coat is dark brown. They have reduced webbing on their feet and hands which gives them greater touch and dexterity. This species of otter can be seen ‘playing’ with sticks and pebbles.

Diet: Small-clawed Otters are carnivores and eat crabs, fish, and small molluscs including snails.

In the wild: Asian Small-clawed Otters are highly social, forming small groups of relatives of 4–12 animals and pairing for life. The female is dominant and the male will hunt for the female and her pups as they develop. The young are independent after 80 days of age.

Threats: All 13 otter species are threatened by the destruction of their aquatic habitats through pollution, urban development and the agriculture industry. Otters are still hunted for their skins and are caught and injured in fishing nets. Land-bound otter species are regularly killed on roads which pass through their natural habitats.

At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo’s Asian Small-clawed Otters can be seen in two exhibits in the Asian Rainforest.

Did you know? Asian Small-clawed Otters have been trained by Malay fisherman to catch fish.

Otters close their nostrils and ears when they swim.

Download the Asian Small-clawed Otter Fact Sheet (pdf).

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