The Giant Otter is the largest otter. The total length of the body is 3-4.5 feet and its tail alone is 1-3.5 feet long. The average weight of an adult is 50-75 pounds with the male being the larger than the female.
BODY: The feet of the Giant Otter are specially adapted for an amphibious lifestyle. They have strong claws and large webbed feet. The hair, like most otters, is fine and velvety in texture and it contains a water-repellent under fur. The color of the hair is a very dark umber on top, with a unique white mark on the throat. The nose is covered in fur and all that is visible is two slits which are the nostrils.
HABITAT: The Giant Otter lives in large rivers in the tropical rain forest of South America. The Giant Otters prefers slow moving rivers with lush vegetation on the banks, where it can find fish to hunt and still be under dense cover to avoid predators such as the jaguar and the puma.
DISTRIBUTION AND LIFESTYLE: The Giant Otter population was once widespread from Venezuela to northern Argentina but now it is found mainly in Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. Giant Otters live in groups called holts. Each holt has a territory, and the different territories do not overlap. Giant Otters are very social animals living in family groups, including male and female parents and their young. Older siblings also live in the group and help raise the young.
FEEDING: The Giant Otter likes to eat fish, preferably perch and catfish, but when it can not find fish it feeds on small caiman, crustaceans, and small snakes. When hunting, the Giant Otter uses mostly its eyesight, but it also uses its hearing and smell as well. Vibrissae on the snout are sensitive to water turbulence and also help the animal detect movement of prey. The Giant Otter will either hunt alone or in a group and in deep or shallow water. In one day the Giant Otter will eat 6-9 pounds of food.
|Species of Otter|