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Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter Video

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter
All images are Oriental Small-Clawed Otters
at South Lakes Wild Animal Park,
Dalton-in-Furness, UK © theanimalfiles.com

Oriental Small-Clawed Otter Range Map (East to South Asia)
Oriental Small-Clawed Otter Range Map
(East to South Asia)

Latin Name Aonyx cinerea
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Location East to South Asia
Colour Brown
Length 45 - 61 cm (12 - 24 inches)
Tail 25 - 35 cm (10 - 14 inches)
Weight 1 - 5 Kgs (2.25 - 11 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 11 Yrs (In Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Oriental Small-Clawed Otters are the smallest species of otter. They have a body length between 45 and 61 cms (12 - 24 inches), a tail length between 25 and 35 cms (10 - 14 inches) and they weigh between 1 and 5 kgs (2.25 - 11 lbs).

They have short, dense fur that is coloured brown with their underside being pale. They have variable white areas on their chest, throat and lower face. Their claws are very short and they do not extend beyond the fleshy part of their partly webbed toes. As the toes are only partly webbed, it allows for more dexterity particularly when handling food.

They have long bodies and short legs. They are agile swimmers and their hind legs propel them through the water. They are mainly active during the day and they have excellent vision.

They are very social animals and they often play on the banks and in the water around their burrow. They communicate using a large variety of vocalizations, posturing and grooming.


Oriental Small-Clawed Otters are found in the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of east to south Asia. They live in loose family groups consisting of approximately 12 individuals and they make burrows by digging into the muddy banks of their habitat. They mark their territories with urine, droppings and secretions from their anal glands.


Oriental Small-Clawed Otters feed on frogs, crabs, crayfish and shellfish. Unusually for otters, fish are not an important part of their diet. They find their prey by feeling under stones with their front paws and they hold prey in them while they consume it.


Oriental Small-Clawed Otters pair up for life and they usually produce two litters of young per year. Their gestation period is approximately 62 days and their litters can vary between 1 and 6 young, although they have an average of 2 young per litter.

Both parents care for the young otters and at birth they weigh approximately 50 g (1.8 oz) and they are helpless. When they reach 5 - 6 weeks old they can open their eyes and by the time they are 9 - 10 weeks old they venture from the nest. They start to swim and begin to eat solid foods at 11 - 12 weeks old.

Both males and females reach sexual maturity at
2 - 3 years of age.


Their predators are likely to be aquatic predators such as snakes and crocodiles.


Subspecies of the Oriental Small-Clawed Otter are:

A. c. cinereus
A. c. concolor
A. c. nirnai

Interesting Facts

Oriental Small-Clawed Otters are also known as:
Oriental Short-Clawed Otter
Asian Small-Clawed Otter
Asian Short-Clawed Otter
Malaysian Small-Clawed Otter
Malaysian Short-Clawed Otter
Asian Clawless Otter
Small Clawed Otter

Oriental Small-Clawed Otters are the smallest otters in the world.

Similar Animals

African Clawless Otter
Smooth-Coated Otter
Spotted-Necked Otter
Congo Clawless Otter
European Otter
Hairy-Nosed Otter
Giant Otter
Sea Otter


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