***The opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone and are not endorsed by the Kansas City Zoo***
Asian Small Clawed Otter
I've always loved otters. They are fun and playful, they like to swim around in the water and cavort on land. As their name suggests, these are the smallest of the otter species, and live in Southeast Asia. Unlike other otter species, their feet are only paritally webbed and they have...you guessed it small claws. Their claws don't extend past their fingers, making their front paws very dexterous.
This picuture gives a very good illustration of the paws that give the animal its name. Their main food is molluscs, crabs, and other crustaceans. They use their dexterous front paws to break and pull apart their food.
Another thing I love about otters is their social nature and close family ties. This species of otter lives in family groups that include the ranking couple and several generations of offspring.
The ranking pair mate for life and ususally produce two litters of 1-6 cubs per year. The older siblings assist in raising the young pups.
When they're not hunting and eating they spend most of their time grooming their luxurious double coated fur. Because they spend so much time in the water, they have to keep their fur neatly groomed to retain its water-proofing. But at least these guys don't have to deal with the cold, like thier North American counterparts.
We have three young male Asian Small Clawed Otters at the KC Zoo. They share a inter-species exhibit with the gibbons. While the gibbons swing overhead, the otters swim and splash in their waterfall. They are all a lot of fun to watch.