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. Otters have one of the most flexible backbones of all vertebrates, as well as a very streamlined body for fast swimming and agility. 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 through 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. Otters will inhabit rivers, streams, rice paddies and coastal mangroves. They build a den, called a holt, into the side of river banks.
The diet of the Asian small-clawed otter consists of fish, crustaceans, shellfish, small land prey and eggs. In the wild they can take down prey twice their own size. They are excellent hunters due to their speed. Asian small-clawed otters eat one third of their body weight in food each day. They are very active and have an extremely high metabolism. They can spend 40-60% of their 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 2-3 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 ten years, but in captivity they are capable of living to the age of 20.
Asian Small Clawed Otter Profiles
Age: 16 Years (DOB 8/4/2001)
Mayhem was born on 08/04/2001 and arrived at Australia Zoo in August 2015. Mayhem is much darker than Rosie and has a sleeker face. He is the boss of the group, and can often be seen sitting up on the highest point of their home, surveying the world around him, and making sure his family is safe. Mayhem loves his food; he enjoys a wide variety in his diet including fish, squid, mussels, prawns and crayfish. He will be the one making the most noise when it comes to dinner time to make sure he doesn’t miss out!
Age: 14 Years (DOB 10/2/2003)
Rosie was born on 10/02/2003 and arrived at Australia Zoo in late 2010. She currently lives with one male otter but is very distinct in appearance and easy to identify by her golden yellow whiskers. Rosie has so much personality and is an incredibly cheeky and playful otter who loves her daily interactive sessions with her keepers. She is very clever and loves her food, so quickly picks up new skills when treats are on offer!