- Common Name
- giant river otter, waterdog
- Genus Species
- Pteronura brasiliensis
- Short coat appears brown when dry and a dark, shiny mocha when wet. Lips, chin, throat, and upper chest exhibit white blotches – which may merge into a single white "bib." Paws are large and webbed. Tail is thick at base and tapers to a dorsoventrally flattened end.
- Head & body length: 864 to 1,400 mm (34 to 55 in.)
Tail length: 330 to 1,000 mm (13 to 39 in.)
- Male: 26- to 4 kg (57 to 75 lbs.)
Female: 22 to 26 kg (49 to 57 lbs.)
- Fish and crabs
- 65 to 70 days
- Nursing Duration
- Weaned at 3 to 4 months
- Sexual Maturity
- Approximately 2 years
- Life Span
- Approximately 14 years
- Historically, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, eastern Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northeastern Argentina were included.
- Slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Shows a particular preference for waterways with gently sloping banks and good cover.
- Global: Unknown
- IUCN: Vulnerable
CITES: Appendix I
- Giant river otters are social, typically forming groups of 4 to 8 individuals (though congregations of up to 20 individuals have been observed). These groups generally maintain a home range of 12 km2 (4.6 mi2). This home range is regularly patrolled and marked (via the definitive anal glands typifying mustelids).
- Cubs are reared in a central den area (1.2 to 1.8 meters, 3.9 to 5.9 ft wide) which connects to an adjacent waterway via a tunnel or series of tunnels.
- Nine distinct vocalizations have been characterized, varying from screams of excitement to coos of recognition.
- To learn more about otters, explore the Otters Infobook.
Ecology and Conservation
The giant river otter has become rare or nonexistent over most of its range. This decline is largely due to habitat loss and commercial fur hunting. Though the fur trade is currently prohibited, hunting does continue.
Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World - Volume I (Sixth Edition). Johns Hopkins University Press. 5(1):522-3.