Asian Short Clawed Otter (A.cinereus)

 Our otter Gem is very curious and loves to bite his keepers boots! His brother Obi is shy but likes to tap his keepers leg with his paw to get their attention. They both love beef mince.

Origin- The Asian short-clawed otter ranges in coastal regions from southern India to Southeast Asia including the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Palawan. It inhabits freshwater wetland systems such as swamps, meandering rivers, mangroves and tidal pools as well as irrigated rice fields. They spend most of their time on land unlike other otter species.

Lifespan-Up to 15 years in captivity but can live up to 20 years with excellent care.

Diet- Asian short clawed otters are carnivorous feeding on a variety of crustaceans, molluscs, freshwater fish, rodents and insects. There is seasonal variation in their diet. A large group of otters will also take on larger prey if the opportunity arises.

Description-  Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest species of otter. Weight can range from 1 to 5.4kg. Its body is slender and streamlined. Dark, greyish-brown fur covers most of the body with a lighter cream fur on the face and neck. Otters have a double coat with a fine, waterproof undercoat.

They have sensitive whiskers which sensitive to touch and to underwater vibrations and are important in detecting the movements of prey.

They have very sensitive and dexterous partially webbed paws which they use to catch their prey instead of their mouth. They have small, short claws.

They have a long tail which is used for propulsion when swimming at high speed, to steer when swimming slowly and for balance when standing upright on hind legs.

Short clawed otters are social and have over 12 different vocalisations. They live in large family groups made up of one breeding pair and their offspring.

Conservation- The IUCN lists short clawed otters as vulnerable. They are seriously threatened by rapid habitat destruction, hunting and pollution. Their popularity in the illegal pet trade is also causing wild populations to decline