Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

Giant Otter

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Body length: 2m (Kruuk 2006)

Weight: 32 Kg (Kruuk 2006)

Color: Dark brown with white/yellow throat patches, which are unique to each individual (Kruuk 2006)

Feet and tail: Fully webbed feet and along broad, flat tail (Kruuk 2006)

Lifespan: 10-15 years (Kruuk 2006)

Range: Inland of South America, mainly in the Brazilian Amazon (Kruuk 2006)

Habitat: Dense forests with slow moving rivers, oxbow lakes along the river, and small creeks.  They are strictly diurnal or active during the day (Kruuk 2006).

Giant River Otter Range Map from

Behavior/ Social Structure: Live in groups of about 10 or fewer animals. Groups are made up of a male and female pair and their young from several generations. One female will breed and other members of the group will provide food and protection (Kruuk 2006).

Communication: Vocal communication between otters and scent communication with latrine sites where vegetation has been removed and the otters spread scent marks through feces, urine, gland secretions, and rolling. (Kruuk 2006)

Diet: Primarily Fish (Kruuk 2006).  Consume about 3kg per day, about 10% of their body weight (Kruuk 2006).

Reproduction: Normally have two cubs.  (Kruuk 2006)

Predators: Humans.  Young may be attacked by Jaguars and caimans.  They are also effected by habitat destruction and water pollution (ICUN 2011). 

Conservation Status: Endangered with less than 1000 left in the wild.  The endangered status is due to habitat loss (rainforest destruction), hunting for pelts, and pollution. (Kruuk 2006). Listed as CITES Appendix I.

Species Survival Plan Status: Red  (AZA 2011).