Home > Mammals > Carnivores
Giant Otter

Similar Animals:
 African Clawless Otter
 Smooth-Coated Otter
 Spotted-Necked Otter
 Oriental Small-Clawed Otter
 European Otter
 Hairy-Nosed Otter
 Congo Clawless Otter
 Sea Otter

Giant Otter
Photographer: Renaud d'Avout d'Auerstaedt


Giant Otter Range Map (South America)
Giant Otter Range Map (South America)

Latin Name Pteronura brasiliensis
Conservation Status Endangered
Location North & Central South America
Colour Brown
Length 1 - 1.4 m (3.25 - 4.5 ft)
Tail 45 - 65 cm (18 - 26 inches)
Weight 22 - 32 Kgs (49 - 71 lbs)
Life Expectancy

12 Yrs (Wild).
Upto 21 Yrs (In Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Giant Otters are the largest mustelid and they are similar to a very large river otter. They have a body length between 1 and 1.4 m (3.25 - 4.5 ft), a tail length between 45 and 65 cms (18 - 26 inches) and they weigh between 22 and 32 Kgs (49 - 71 lbs).

They have deep brown coloured fur that is dense, thick, velvety and water repellant. They have a unique white mark around the throat area that can be used to identify different individuals. Giant Otters also have small ears that close when they go underwater and short legs with webbed toes and sharp claws.

Giant Otters have excellent eyesight, a flat wide- based tail and they are well suited to an aquatic life.

Habitat

Giant Otters are only found in the rainforests and rivers of South America. They tend to set up their nests in the banks of slow moving rivers and lakes as this is safer for their young.

They live in family groups that consist of 4 - 10 members and they have a home range of around 12 x 12 kms

Diet

Giant Otters consume around 4.5 Kgs (10 lbs) of food per day. They mainly use their eyesight to detect their prey and they hunt during the day as a group. They are purely carnivorous and they feed on fish, crabs, small caimans and small anacondas.

Breeding

Giant Otters are old enough to breed at 2 years of age. After a 65 - 70 day gestation period 2 - 6 pups are born in an under ground den.

When the pups reach 2 - 3 months they are taught to swim and they fend for themselves when they reach 2 - 3 years of age.

Predators

Giant Otters have few natural predators. Their main predators on land is the Jaguar and in the water, large Caimans and large Anacondas.

Subspecies

Subspecies of the Giant Otter include:

Pteronura brasiliensis brasiliensis

Pteronura brasiliensis paraguensis

Interesting Facts

Giant Otters are the largest otter and they are the rarest mammal in the Amazon region.

Giant Otters are also know locally as:
Lobo de Rio (the River Wolf)
Los Lobos del Rio (Wolves of the River)
Ariranha



Contact         External Links         Glossary         About         Site Map         Privacy Policy