Asian short-clawed otter
Otters are a member of the weasel family; you can see how their long body shape is similar. They are diurnal, active in the daytime and in the wild they eat a variety of fish, crabs, invertebrates, reptiles, birds and small mammals. They use their sensitive webbed feet to find food under rocks on the river bed, their whiskers to detect prey in the water and their strong rudder-like tail to help them swim. Otters also have two layers of fur – one acts as a waterproof coat, the other as a thermal layer. This species of otter uses special calls to communicate with each other and can vocalise 14 different sounds.
Latin name - Aonyx cinereus
Class - Mammals
Order - Carnivora
Family - Mustelidae
IUCN Status - Vulnerable
Habitat - Fresh water wetland and mangrove swamps
Distribution - Indonesia, S India, S China, SE Asia and the Philippines
Up to 21 years in captivity.
Habitat destruction, pollution, the illegal pet trade, fur trade and hunting.
They are incredibly dexterous creatures with their very short claws. They use their paws to search in the shallows for tasty morsels. This skill is often used to practice juggling with stones, shells, grapes or cherry tomatoes!
We have two enclosures of Asian Short-Clawed Otters who can be found out the back of the main building.
Our large family, affectionately named 8D by the keepers, started when Daley, born at Chester Zoo in 2012, met Dotty, born at Drusillas Park in 2012. They were introduced together as a new breeding pair in 2018 and we are delighted that they have welcomed three litters - June 2019; Dash and Daisy, May 2020; Dillon and Darcy and February 2021; Dexta, Darwin, Doodle and Delilah! The family are very active and very vocal especially as feeding time nears. Dotty and Daley are currently living in an off show enclosure, enjoying some alone time!
In our second enclosure lives our family of four; dad Little John and his three children, Bubble, Rishi and Whitty!
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