Known for their fun loving nature, the Giant Otter isn’t likely to be a hermit. Their aquatic habitats can be both marine and fresh … Southern river otter – Is found in the marine and freshwater environments of southern Chile and Argentina. It can come to weigh between 66 and 88 pounds and come to measure some 6 feet long. [74], The giant otter has lost as much as 80% of its South American range. It lives only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems. Hunting in shallow water has also been found to be more rewarding, with water depth less than 0.6 metres (2.0 ft) having the highest success rate. The giant otter ranges across north-central South America; it lives mostly in and along the Amazon River and in the Pantanal. [77] (One researcher has suggested the giant otter is hunted only in desperation due to its horrible taste. The fact that it is exclusively active during the day further suggests its eyesight should be strong, to aid in hunting and predator avoidance. They have very streamlined bodies, with a … Even when told of the importance of the species to ecosystems and the danger of extinction, interviewees showed little interest in continuing to coexist with the species. Being carnivorous, otters feast on a variety of meats from the fish they catch, to crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins, and amphibians. Habitat degradation and loss is the greatest current threat. Giant River Otters are apex predators, partially due to these impenetrable family groups, and use 22 different vocalisations to communicate to one another. It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the sea otter may be heavier. Prey chase is rapid and tumultuous, with lunges and twists through the shallows and few missed targets. recommended for you. This makes it easier for the adults to catch enough fish for the growing young, and for the pups to learn how to catch fish. To notify the family of their presence, otters sharply scream and emerge from the water. [58] It occurs in freshwater rivers and streams, which generally flood seasonally. Its distribution has been greatly reduced and is now discontinuous. [15] The ears are small and rounded. [60] They clear significant amounts of vegetation while building their campsites. Do giant otters live in a group? Their main habitat is on the land near to water bodies. Male giant otters can attain a length of 1.5-1.7m (4.9-5.6ft). It lives in the rivers and swamps of tropical South America, forming noisy family groups that often hunt together. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. An adult otter may consume up to ten pounds (4.5 kg) of fish a day. This South American otter is the world's largest, at some 6 feet long. Do you or anyone you know, live with a pet otter? Among the Achuar people, they are known as wankanim,[7] and among the Sanumá as hadami. Sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean while giant otters live in the tropical rain forests of South America. Early documentation of skins and live animals suggest that they once grew up to 7.9 feet in length (2.4 m), but such large specimens ceased to exist when the giant otter population began to decline. About us. The neotropical otter is active during twilight and darkness, reducing the likelihood of conflict with the diurnal giant otter. [16] (The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is the fourth Lontra member.) The Giant River Otter is a sociable creature who lives in families of 3-10 members, banding together to protect themselves and their territories. [11], The otters form the subfamily Lutrinae within the mustelids and the giant otter is the only member of the genus Pteronura. Giant otters have webbed legs and a long tail adapted for swimming. [2] In the former, investigation has shown thinly distributed population remnants. Giant otters catch their own food and consume it immediately; they grasp the fish firmly between the forepaws and begin eating noisily at the head. It can grow up to 1.80 meters (six feet) in length and weigh more than 30 kilograms (70 pounds). Other threats to the giant otter include conflict with fishermen, who often view the species as a nuisance (see below). Giant otters adopt communal latrines beside campsites, and dig dens with a handful of entrances, typically under root systems or fallen trees. Giant otters are an endangered species living in the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems in large, gregarious families. One report suggests maximum areas 28 m (92 ft) long and 15 m (49 ft) wide, well-marked by scent glands, urine, and feces to signal territory. [82] A Ticuna legend has it that the giant otter exchanged places with the jaguar: the story says jaguar formerly lived in the water and the giant otter came to the land only to eat. A family of giant otters in the Pantanal, Brazil. They are perfectly adapted to their watery environment, with large, webbed feet and stout tails to guide them through submerged vegetation, and ears and noses that close when they dive in search of prey. The giant otter is also rare in captivity; in 2003, only 60 animals were being held.[4]. Their diet in the wild is crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. The largest otter is the giant otter. The giant otter is large, gregarious, and diurnal. This gregarious animal grows to a length of up to 1.8 m (5.9 ft), and is more aquatic than most other otters. Giant Otters are fascinating animals. Weights are between 26 and 32 kg (57 and 71 lb) for males and 22 and 26 kg (49 and 57 lb) for females. The giant otter is the longest of the otters, sometimes reaching 7 feet from nose to tail, and weighing up to 85 pounds, but sea otters are much stouter and large male sea otters in particular are bulkier and heavier than giant otters. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. [66] Its smaller prey, different denning habits, and different preferred water types also reduce interaction.[57]. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. [45], Suriname still has significant forest cover and an extensive system of protected areas, much of which protects the giant otter. The giant otter seems to choose clear, black waters with rocky or sandy bottoms over silty, saline, and white waters. Giant otters live in lakes and slow-moving rivers in forested areas. [78][79] Bolivia designated wetlands larger than the size of Switzerland as a freshwater protected area in 2001; these are also home to the giant otter. Giant otters mate in the water and give birth to 2 or 3 pups in August to October. Logging, hunting, and pup seizure may have led groups to be far more wary of human activity. Giant otters are also found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, and are believed to have become extinct in Argentina and Uruguay. [2] Given local extinctions, the species' range has become discontinuous. Giant otters live in family groups which include monogamous parents and the offspring from several breeding seasons. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggressi… The species was so thoroughly decimated, the number dropped to just 12 in 1971. In summary: Cage should be outdoors. [58] Duplaix identified two critical factors in habitat selection: food abundance, which appears to positively correlate to shallow water, and low sloping banks with good cover and easy access to preferred water types. Once they locate their prey, the giant river otters proceed to capture and consume them. Two river dolphins, the tucuxi and boto, might potentially compete with the giant otter, but different spatial use and dietary preferences suggest minimal overlap. Subadults leaving in search of new territory find it impossible to set up family groups. At 5.6 feet (1.7 meters), they are the biggest otters in the world and the longest members of the weasel family. The three Guianas remain the last stronghold of giant otters in South America, with pristine giant otter habitat on some rivers and good giant otter densities overall—still, but for how long? Giant otters live in the tropical Amazonian region of South America, where the weather is invariably hot and humid, with frequent rain showers. Form and function. [18], Phylogenetic analysis by Koepfli and Wayne in 1998 found the giant otter has the highest divergence sequences within the otter subfamily, forming a distinct clade that split away 10 to 14 million years ago. Once they locate their prey, the giant river otters proceed to capture and consume them. [7] The Bororó people have a legend on the origin of tobacco smoking: those who used the leaf improperly by swallowing it were punished by being transformed into giant otters; the Bororo also associate the giant otter with fish and with fire. Statistics show between 1959 and 1969 Amazonian Brazil alone accounted for 1,000 to 3,000 pelts annually. It is the noisiest otter species, and distinct vocalizations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggression, and reassurance. [51], The longest documented giant otter lifespan in the wild is eight years. It lives only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems. Check this one out: Giant otter with fish. The giant otter is a highly social animal and lives in extended family groups. Whistles may be used as advance warning of nonhostile intent between groups, although evidence is limited. The Guianas are one of the last real strongholds for the species, which also enjoys modest numbers — and significant protection — in the Peruvian Amazonian basin. [57] In addition, solitary animals and young may be vulnerable to attacks by the jaguar, cougar, and anaconda, but this is based on historical reports, not direct observation. Giant otter: Physical characteristics. They are also downright scary-looking. It … The giant otter is the largest of all the otter species. The giant otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. Known throughout much of their range as 'river wolf', they are amongst South America's top carnivores. These can become quite extensive, including "backdoor" exits into forests and swamps, away from the water. [46] The animal reaches sexual maturity at about two years of age and both male and female pups leave the group permanently after two to three years. [57] Furthermore, Defler observed associations between giant otters and the Amazon river dolphins, and suggested that dolphins may benefit by fish fleeing from the otters. [38] One fight was directly observed in the Brazilian Pantanal in which three animals violently engaged a single individual near a range boundary. Male river otters do not seem to be territorial, and newly dispersing males may join established male groups. An average giant otter will weigh between 22 and 32kg (49-71lbs). [81], In Suriname, the giant otter is not a traditional prey species for human hunters, which affords some protection. To spend much more time on land than other otters from Africa, are! These otters do have sharp teeth and if you're keeping otters you should be aware these wild animals can become aggressive if stressed. [40], Aggression within the species ("intraspecific" conflict) has been documented. [46][47] Research over five years on a breeding pair at the Cali Zoo in Colombia found the average interval between litters was six to seven months, but as short as 77 days when the previous litter did not survive. Defence against intruding animals appears to be cooperative: while adult males typically lead in aggressive encounters, cases of alpha females guarding groups have been reported. Like most other otter species, giant otters come ashore to give birth. Land otters feed on insects, frogs, eggs, birds, even critters such as rabbits or rodents. The sinuous otter is an excellent swimmer and can be seen hunting in wetlands, rivers and along the coast - try the west coast of Scotland, West Wales, the West Country or East Anglia for the best views. They tend to set up their nests in the banks of slow moving rivers and lakes as this is safer for their young. After nine or ten months, it is difficult to tell mother from child. Giant river otters can eat piranhas. Other researchers suggest approximately 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) and note a strong inverse correlation between sociality and home range size; the highly social giant otter has smaller home range sizes than would be expected for a species of its mass. The estrous cycle is 21 days, with females receptive to sexual advances between three and 10 days. The survival of the giant otter populations in the Guianas is essential to the survival of this endangered species in South America. It is one of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics. Baby otters for sale is 1 of 5 different otter species that is native to Asia. It plays an important role in the mythology of the Achuar people, where giant otters are seen as a form of the tsunki, or water spirits: they are a sort of "water people" who feed on fish. These large otters are extremely social animals. Otters are adorable animals and they can live both in the land and in the river. [64], The species has also appeared in the folklore of the region. The giant river otters are excellent predators. [50] Other causes of death include accidents, gastroenteritis, infanticide, and epileptic seizures. The giant otter is an especially noisy animal, with a complex repertoire of vocalizations. The length of her body without a tail reaches 150 cm, the tail in length is 70 … [11] Later gene sequencing research on the mustelids, from 2005, places the divergence of the giant otter somewhat later, between five and 11 million years ago; the corresponding phylogenetic tree locates the Lontra divergence first among otter genera, and Pteronura second, although divergence ranges overlap.[19]. In terms of otters, the giant one has the shortest coat and its … Groups of about 5 to 10 otters live together in dens or burrows beside a river.

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