Otter

Hydrictis maculicollis

Common name

Otter

Habitat

Freshwater rivers, lakes and swamps, absent in coastal areas or estuaries. It rarely goes more than 10 meters from the water and prefers areas with clean, clear waters, banks covered with reeds and tall grasses, low pollution and no crocodiles.
Features

Family

Mustelidae Subfamily: Lutrinae

Medals

carnivora

Class

Mammalia

Gestation

60 days.

Number of offspring

2–3

Preproduction

Diet

Fish (Barbus, Clarias, Haplochromis, Micropterus salmoides, Salmo trutta and Tilapia), crabs (Potomonautes) and frogs (Xenopus laevis and Rana). In spring, summer and autumn it feeds mainly on crabs while in winter it predominantly eats fish. Occasionally it also feeds on insects and birds.

Life

22 years.

Biology and behavior

Aerodynamic animal, adapted to aquatic life. It uses its muscular tail as a rudder, and has webbed hands and feet.

Solitary animal, although it can be found forming small family groups depending on the time of year. It digs small burrows on the banks of rivers and lakes.

Males live in a large territory in which there is more than one female. The mother takes care of her offspring for a year, helped by her father.

The otter enjoys playing, either alone or with other otters. A diurnal animal, it goes out to hunt during twilight (morning and evening) and can coordinate with other otters in searching for and attacking schools of fish. It mainly uses its sight to locate its prey, so it avoids murky waters with poor visibility.

Some
curiosities

The otter is hunted by fishermen as it is considered their competitor in fishing. They are also targets of poachers who hunt them for their precious skin, used by the fur industry. Otter skin is used to cure eye and/or nose infections.

The spotted-necked otter is in decline due to the changes that humans are making to its habitat. The widespread use of nylon fishing nets causes otters to become trapped and die. Soil erosion of river banks also contributes to the decline in otter numbers.

African savanna
Wetlands
africans
Habitats
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island