Smooth Coated Otter

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General information

Smooth Coated Otters are an extremely social, mainly nocturnal species that will live in large family groups, with some families of up to 25 members recorded in the wild! This species of otter spends a lot of time in water as well as on land. This means they have a varied diet including fish, frogs, crayfish, small birds and mammals. The vocal calls of smooth coated otters are very distinctive as they keep in constant communication with vocals ranging from pipping whistles to squeaks resembling high-pitched bird calls.

With one partner in their lifetime, Smooth Coated Otters are mainly monogamous. This pair will breed between August and December, which will be followed by a gestation period of around 60 days. The female will then give birth to 1 to 5 pups in a den near water. The pups develop very quickly, learning to swim at 6 weeks old and becoming fully weaned by 5 months. At 1 year old, the pups will venture off to find their own home.

Concerted efforts are important for the conservation of this declining species as their habitat range is fragmented by degradation and water pollution.

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Latin name - Lutrogale perspicillata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Carnivora

Family - Mustelidae

IUCN Status - Vulnerable

Habitat - Rivers, lakes, marshlands and adjacent forested areas to marine coastal

Distribution - Throughout South Asia and South-East Asia

Average Lifespan

8 to 10 years in the wild. 15 to 20 years in captivity


Habitat loss, water pollution and the illegal wildlife trade.

Fun Fact

This species of otter often has an underwater tunnel entrance to their 'holt' which is unusual for an otter. 

Our Residents

Our family 'romp' of Smooth Coated Otters is made up of; dad, Song, born at Colchester Zoo in 2012 and mum, Soriah, born at Wingham Wildlife Park, in 2014. They had their first litter of cubs on 1st June 2018, called Anupa, male and Ananda, female. The romp can be found in the Deer Encounter where they are constantly delighting visitors with their cheeky, mischievous antics as they play-fight and run around playing chase!

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