Both sexes generally weigh between 2.5 to 3kg. Of the 13 species of otter found throughout the world, this is the smallest, attaining a body length of 41 to 64cm and a tail length of 25 to 35cm. Asian Small-clawed Otters have fully webbed 'feet' and partially webbed 'hands', which greatly assist survival in their primarily aquatic lifestyle.
Asian small-clawed Otters are found in South-East Asia in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South China and Himalayan regions. They select areas with equal amounts of land and running water. They will inhabit rivers, streams, rice paddies and coastal mangroves. They build a den into the side of a river bank called a holt.
The diet of the Asian Small-clawed Otter consists of fish, crustaceans and shellfish, small land prey and eggs. In the wild they can take down prey twice their own size. In captivity a variety of seafoods and meats can be added to their diet, as well as treats such as peanuts and corn. They are excellent hunters due to their speed. They have a very streamlined body for fast swimming and agility - they have one of the most flexible backbones of all vertebrates. In the wild Asian Small-clawed Otters eat one third of their body weight in food each day. Otters are very active and have an extremely high metabolism. They can spend 40-60% of the day just on hunting and eating.
Asian Small-clawed Otters are sexually mature as early as 12 months of age, but usually do not reproduce until 2 to 3 years of age. They mate for life and can produce two litters of young per year. Each of these litters can produce up to six cubs.
Otters are very social and will live in large family groups of up to 20 individuals.
In the wild, Asian Small-clawed Otters generally live to the age of eight to 10 years, but in captivity they are capable of living to the age of 20.
Asian Small Clawed Otter Profiles
Rosie was born on 10/02/2003 and arrived at Australia Zoo in late 2010. She has so much personality and is the dominant animal in the enclosure. She is very distinct in appearance with golden whiskers. Rosie is an incredibly cheeky and playful otter who loves her daily training session with her keepers. Rosie can even play fetch with the keepers, and loves sitting up on her floating platforms. She is very clever and loves her food, so is quick to pick up new skills when food is offered as a reward!