Smooth-Coated Otter

By: S.B.

Description

  • Smooth-Coated Otters are the largest otters in Asia
  • tail is flatter in comparison to other otters (ARK)
  • thick body, short legs, and webbed feet with short claws
  • mammals
  • thick, velvety fur with 2 layers
  • neck is as wide as the body
  • the weight of the otters is between 15-25 pounds (Wiki)
  • these otters can grow to be about 4 feet (Wiki)
  • the front legs are shorter than the back legs to help with swimming
  • males are larger than females
  • they use visual and auditory communication

Food Chain and Habitat

  • 70% of their diet consists of fish (ADW)
  • they also eat reptiles, frogs, insects, and crustaceans
  • carnivores
  • they are the main predator and are at the top of the wetland food chain
  • their habitats range from South East Asia to India
  • like other otters they need a diverse bank side vegetation
  • ability to live in fresh and sea water
  • very versatile habitats (almost anywhere near a freshwater source)
  • forested rivers, lakes,swamps, and man-made canals are the most commonly known habitats
  • hunt in groups to try to capture schools of fish
  • a group of otters has a feeding territory of 7 to 12 square kilometers (ARK)

Adaptation

  • many otters have been forced to adapt to new environments because of habitat loss
  • many of the fish Smooth Coated Otters eat are poisoned, as a result leaving the otters to find new types of food
  • to swim faster, the otters tuck their front legs in and paddle with their back legs
  • webbed feet and sharp claws
  • two layers of fur to keep body heat in
  • hunt in packs instead of by themselves
  • fishermen train these otters to hunt for fish in groups
  • can live in both salt and fresh water

Reason for Endangerment

Many of the smooth coated otters are becoming endangered because of the illegal trade of otter pellets. Also because of their very nice fur, that is velvety and thick , many otters are killed . The fur is so nice that hunters consider it the "diamond" (WWF) of the fur business. In some places in India the otter blood is used to cure a disease called epilepsy. Another reason their numbers are declining is because of the pollution in their habitat. Agricultural run off and heavy metal concentration in fish are the two main ways how pollution affects the Smooth-Coated Otter population. Major infrastructural developments have destroyed and eliminated the major river habitats for these otters as well. Hydroelectric projects and pollution from fertilizers and pesticides also contribute to the endangerment of these otters.

Bibliography

Works Cited

Lutrogale perspicillata smooth-coated otter." Animal Diversity WEB (ADW). Web. 30 May 2013. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lutrogale_perspicillata/>. White, Timothy

Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata)." Arkive.org. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://www.arkive.org/smooth-coated-otter/lutrogale-perspicillata/image-G10217.html>.

"Smooth- Coated Otter." Wikipedia.org. N.p., 2 May 2013. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smooth-coated_otter>.

"Smooth-coated Otter." wwfindia.org. WWF. Web. 30 May 2013. <http://www.wwfindia.org/about_wwf/priority_species/smooth_coated_otter/>.