Thursday, May 23, 2013

Otters of the Old World

In the last post (which you can check out by clicking HERE), we learned all about the otters of the Americas   In this post, we are going to look at the otters from the rest of the world!  First though, we aren't going to be looking at the sea otter again, as we looked at it in the last post, and even though it can be found along the coast of Russia and Japan, you can just click the link above to learn about it from the last post.  So, just like an otter, let's dive on in!

We'll start with the Eurasian otter, found from Europe down south to northern Africa, and as far east as India, China, and the Malay Archipelago!

Before heading over to Africa, let's focus more on the Asian otters!  First off, we have the smooth-coated otter!  The smooth-coated otter is one of my favorite otters for many reasons!  First off, it has been tamed in some parts of India and Bangladesh to not only catch fish, but also to herd them into fishing nets!  That's pretty awesome!  This otter is very social, living in groups between around 2-11, and fighting off crocodiles.  Wait, what was that?  Did you say fighting off crocodiles?  Technically, no, I wrote it, and you didn't really need to ask, you could have just reread that line again.

Anyways, yes, the smooth-coated otter will actually fight off crocodiles!  More specifically, a certain type of crocodile called the mugger crocodile!  I can sense that a few of you are a little skeptic, so below is the link to a video!

Our next Asian otter is the Asian small-clawed otter!  We actually have these at the Denver Zoo, but I have never been able to get a good picture of them (nor the fishing cats!) due to the weird way the glass was built!  Anyways, the Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter in the world, and, like the smooth-coated otter, is very social, living in groups of around 2-15.

Our next otter, our last Asian otter, is the hairy-nosed otter.  Not a lot is known about the hairy-nosed otter: as a matter of fact, it was actually thought to be extinct until 1998.  Since then, numerous pockets of the animal have been rediscovered, but it is still highly at risk.  The hairy-nosed otter is currently labeled as "Endangered" by the IUCN.

On to the African otters!  The African otter with the widest range is the Cape clawless otter, so we'll look at it first!  As its name implies, the front foot of the Cape clawless otter is, in fact, clawless, except for vestigial fingernails.  The Cape clawless otter will inhabit marine habitats, so long as fresh water for drinking is close by!  The Cape clawless otter will dine on, amongst other things, octopus!

The African otter with the second widest range is the spotted-necked otter.  The markings on the spotted-necked otter are unique to each individual animal: just like human thumbprints, no two are alike!

The final African otter (in fact, the final otter altogether), is the Congo clawless otter.  The limited data that scientists have seems to indicate that, despite their similarities, the Congo clawless otter is, indeed, genetically distinct from the Cape clawless otter.  One interesting fact about the Congo clawless otter pertains to its diet: earthworms form a very important component of the diet of this particular otter in many parts of its range!  The otters will root around in the mud in search of their prey, oftentimes consuming up to three earthworms a minute!

Make sure to check out the first post in our "Otters of the World" duology by clicking HERE.  Furthermore, this was the birthday post of Julie Neher! Happy birthday, Julie! Want to see some cute (or ugly) baby animals featured here on your birthday? Well, if you have a birthday coming up, just email me the date at with the date and your favorite animal, and I will do my best to get a post in! And if you like what you are reading, please feel free to follow us here or via Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...