Smooth Coated Otter


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Lutrogale perspicillata

Common Names:

Smooth-coated Otter, Indian Smooth-coated Otter

Taxonomy:

Smooth Coated Otter

Kingdom :   Animalia
Phylum :   Chordata
Class :   Mammalia
Order :   Carnivora
Family :   Mustelidae
Genus :    Lutrogale
Species :    perspicillata

Conservation status:

IUCN :   Vulnerable
IWPA :   Schedule II Part II
CITES :   Appendix II
U.S ESA :   Endangered

Distribution:

The Smooth-coated Otter is distributed in India in all the major rivers south of the Himalaya.

Distribution map of Smooth-coated Otter

Distribution Map of Smooth Coated Otter (Source: iucnredlist.org )

Characteristics, Habitat and Behaviour:

Smooth-coated otters are relatively larger than other species, weighing from 7 to 11 kg (15 to 24 lb) and 59 to 64 cm (23 to 25 inches) in head-body length, with a tail 37 to 43 cm (15 to 17 inches) long. They may be distinguished from other species of otters by a more rounded head and a hairless nose in the shape of a distorted diamond. The tail is flattened, in contrast to the more rounded tails of other species, which with shorter front legs makes swimming smooth and easy. The fur is thick and velvety with two layers; the guard fur keeps the underfur dry underwater to retain body heat. Males are larger than females.

Otters prefer rocky stretches for den and resting. River stretches with bank side vegetation and marshes are used in proportion to their availability, especially in summer, as they provide ample cover while travelling or foraging. Open clayey and sandy banks are largely avoided as they lack escape covers. Smooth-coated otters are social and hunt in groups and are mainly diurnal, and have a short lull in activity during midday.

Major Threats:

  • Loss of wetland habitats due to construction of large-scale hydroelectric projects, reclamation of wetlands for settlements and agriculture.
  • Lack of adequate prey base for sustaining otter populations.
  • Polluted wetlands and waterways by eutrophication and accumulation of persistent pesticides such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates through agricultural runoffs.
  • Polluted wetlands and waterways by eutrophication and accumulation of persistent pesticides such as chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates through agricultural runoffs.
  • Poaching for pelt.


References:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12427/0

http://www.otterspecialistgroup.org/Species/Lutrogale_perspicillata.html

http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=12427