Prey chase is rapid and tumultuous, with lunges and twists through the shallows and few missed targets. [46][47] They then search for new territory to begin a family of their own. An average giant otter will weigh between 22 and 32kg (49-71lbs). These South American otters ( Pteronura Brasiliensis) are the biggest in the world, reaching about 1.8 meters long. Male otters disperse from such family groups more often than females. All otters produce vocalizations, but by frequency and volume, the giant otter may be the most vocal. Males and females do not vary in size, which is usually between 150 and 180 cm long, but they do vary in weight: while males weigh between 26 and 32 kg, females, somewhat lighter, range between 22 and 26 kg. [50] This sensitivity is matched by a strong protectiveness towards the young. This article was originally published March 11, 2020. Trees surround them in the tropical forest, providing shade in the heat of the midday sun. More recently, habitat destruction and degradation have become the principal dangers, and a further reduction of 50% is expected in giant otter numbers within the 20 years after 2004 (about the span of three generations of giant otters). [40], Aggression within the species ("intraspecific" conflict) has been documented. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). [64], Even if without direct predation, the giant otter must still compete with other predators for food resources. Years ago, they lived in tropical forests and wetlands, but the presence of human beings has drastically changed this situation. They tend to set up their nests in the banks of slow moving rivers and lakes as this is safer for their young. The Amazon basin is massive - it is almost the size of the whole of the United States of America - which shows how massive this ecosystem is. Giant Otters typically live in and along the Amazon River. Giant Otters often baby sit for one another. [64] One difference in behavior was seen in the country in 2002: the normally inquisitive giant otters showed "active avoidance behavior with visible panic" when boats appeared. Statistics show between 1959 and 1969 Amazonian Brazil alone accounted for 1,000 to 3,000 pelts annually. Giant otters live on a diet that almost exclusively consists of fishes and crabs. Giant otters, Pteronura brasiliensis, live in South America, mostly along the Amazon River and the wetlands of the Pantanal. [40] Population densities varied with a high of 1.2/km2 (3.1/sq mi) reported in Suriname and with a low of 0.154/km2 (0.40/sq mi) found in Guyana. 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. The giant river otters have also been noted to feed on small anacondas and caimans. [56] In some cases, supposed cooperative hunting may be incidental, a result of group members fishing individually in close proximity; truly coordinated hunting may only occur where the prey cannot be taken by a single giant otter, such as with small anacondas and juvenile black caiman. Otters living in zoos and aquariums are likely to live far past their average life span to almost double or triple years. The giant otter seems to have evolved independently of Lontra in South America, despite the overlap. [57] The spectacled caiman is another potential competitor, but Duplaix found no conflict with the species in Suriname. Form and function. [71] A number of restrictions on land use and human intrusion are required to properly maintain wild populations. Main navigation. [2] Typically, loggers first move into rainforest, clearing the vegetation along riverbanks. Otters are well suited to a life on the water as they have webbed feet, dense fur to keep them warm, and can close their ears and nose when underwater. The giant otter is the longest of the otter species but shares a similar weight with the sea otter. 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. [16] Carter and Rosas found average areas a third this size. Early travelers' reports describe noisy groups surrounding explorers' boats, but little scientific information was available on the species until Duplaix's groundbreaking work in the late 1970s. They all eat fish, clams, lobsters and small animals occurring along the shore. Cape clawless otters and Asian small clawed otters love frogs, crustaceans, crabs and mollusks. [71] Duplaix relates the story of an Arawak Indian who took two pups from their parents. Most are small, with short ears and noses, elongated bodies, long tails, and soft, dense fur. These large otters are extremely social animals. A fully-grown adult male typically weighs between 57 and 71 pounds (26 and 32 kg). In 2004, Peru created one of the largest conservation areas in the world, Alto Purús National Park, with an area similar in size to Belgium. Each animal may eat six to nine pounds of food per day. Fish remains were of medium-sized species that seem to prefer relatively shallow water, to the advantage of the probably visually oriented giant otter. Among the Achuar people, they are known as wankanim,[7] and among the Sanumá as hadami. [58] Otters do not visit or mark every site daily, but usually patrol all of them, often by a pair of otters in the morning. The main difference between the giant otter and the other relatives is its flattened tail. [45], Suriname still has significant forest cover and an extensive system of protected areas, much of which protects the giant otter. Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. An adult otter may consume up to ten pounds (4.5 kg) of fish a day. Young otters remain in the den for a month but grow up quickly. These huge members of the weasel family swim by propelling themselves with their powerful tails and flexing their long bodies. Giant Otter is very active during the day, suggesting that Giant Otter should have better eyesight to help hunt and avoid predators. The giant otter or giant river otter[3] The groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely cohesive and cooperative. Distribution of … It constructs extensive campsites close to feeding areas, clearing large amounts of vegetation. The length of her body without a tail reaches 150 cm, the tail in length is 70 … In the wild, it has been suggested, although not systematically confirmed, that tourists cause similar stresses: disrupted lactation and denning, reduced hunting, and habitat abandonment are all risks. It lives only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems. [66] Its smaller prey, different denning habits, and different preferred water types also reduce interaction.[57]. What do otters eat? [67], The animal faces a variety of critical threats. [15] The ears are small and rounded. In South America, the otter-record holder lives in length and weight among representatives of the subfamily – the giant, or the Brazilian otter. [61] Giant otters may adopt preferred locations perennially, often on high ground. Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) considers the species' presence in Argentina and Uruguay uncertain. [14] Biologist Nicole Duplaix calls the division of "doubtful value". The giant otter shows a variety of adaptations suitable to an amphibious lifestyle, including exceptionally dense fur, a wing-like tail, and webbed feet. Giant otters are also found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, and are believed to have become extinct in Argentina and Uruguay. The Brazilian otters live in small family groups in quiet rivers: the Amazon and the Orinoco. Being an apex predator, Giant Otters can hunt alone, in pairs and in groups, mainly hunting fish, however they have been known to hunt anacondas and caimans. [68] The animal's relatively late sexual maturity and complex social life makes hunting especially disastrous.[12][69][70]. Another thing that is important when it comes to their health and wellbeing is the food they consume. [59], Giant otters use areas beside rivers for building dens, campsites, and latrines. They … All group members may aggressively charge intruders, including boats with humans in them. [24] Guard hairs trap water and keep the inner fur dry; the guard hairs are approximately 8 millimetres (one-third of an inch) in length, about twice as long as the fur of the inner coat. The giant otter's hearing is acute and its sense of smell is excellent. Groups of about 5 to 10 otters live together in dens or burrows beside a river. They noted that the species may be the basal divergence among the otters or fall outside of them altogether, having split even before other mustelids, such as the ermine, polecat, and mink. The clawless otter is a specimen that appears in Africa and is one of the smallest otter species. 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. This is the smallest otter species being only about 11 lbs. The Giant River Otter is a sociable creature who lives in families of 3-10 members, banding together to … Giant Otter – This species is found throughout the Amazon River basin in South America. [26] Unique markings of white or cream fur color the throat and under the chin, allow individuals to be identified from birth. Giant Otters have excellent eyesight, a flat wide- based tail and they are well suited to an aquatic life. They have very streamlined bodies, with a … [85], Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, "Searching for the Giant Otter in Northeastern Argentina", "Otters: An Action Plan for their Conservation", "Cytogenetic study of the giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis Zimmermann 1780 (Carnivora, Mustelidae, Lutrinae)", "Otters: A SeaWorld Education Department Publication", "The Vocal Repertoire of Adult and Neonate Giant Otters (, "Territorial choruses of giant otter groups (Pteronura brasiliensis) encode information on group identity", "Distribution and Population Status of the Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis in Bolivia", "Intraspecific Agonism between Giant Otter Groups", "Change Of Partners In A Giant Otter Alpha Couple", "An analysis and review of the sociobiology of the Mustelidae", Guianas Rapid River Bio-assessments and Giant Otter Conservation Project, "Dry and Rainy Season Estimations of Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, Home-Range in the Yasuní National Park, Ecuador", "How a social lifestyle helped drive a river otter species to near extinction", "Differential resilience of Amazonian otters along the Rio Negro in the aftermath of the 20th century international fur trade", "Mercury levels in tissues of Giant otters (, "Giant Otter Project In Peru: Field Trip And Activity Report, 1998", "A Survey of Kaburi Creek, West Suriname, and its Conservation Implications", "WWF welcomes Latin America's largest freshwater protected area", "Estudio preliminar sobre el estado de conservación de la nutria gigante (Pteronura brasiliensis) en la zona de influencia de Inírida (Bajo río Inírida) Guainía, Colombia", "PER-I38: El mundo del agua temido y poco conocido", "Biology and conservation of Giant Otter (, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Giant_otter&oldid=998738643, Articles with Spanish-language sources (es), Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles containing Portuguese-language text, Articles containing Spanish-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 20:31. 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