(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The hairy-nosed otter, scientific name Lutra sumatrana is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to Southeast Asia and one of many rarest and least recognized otter species. It is threatened by a lack of natural assets and poaching.

Hairy-Nosed Otter profile

The hairy-nosed otter is definitely recognizable by its bushy nostril pad and white higher lip. This otter is taken into account as a miracle otter: having been declared extinct in 1998, this small, elusive otter was lately and with great pleasure rediscovered in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, and Cambodia, largely due to digital camera lure proof.

Individuals killed on roads and sighted within the wild are popping up in seemingly disconnected places in southeast Asia, proof that the hairy-nosed otter continues to be, albeit precariously, present and largely unknown.

Based on the contents of recovered scat, its diet appears composed predominantly of fish, but it surely additionally eats water snakes, frogs, lizards, terrapins, crustaceans, and bugs that reside in swamps and shallow coastal waters.

It is so rare and the dangers to its survival so elevated that ex-situ conservation strategies are being thought-about – primarily capturing people for reproduction in captivity and the prospect of a future restocking of nature reserves.

Hairy-Nosed Otters have an analogous look to different freshwater otters. They have a body size between 51 and 84 cms (20 – 33 inches), a tail size between 36 and 51 cms (14 – 20 inches) and so they weigh between 5 and 5.9 kgs (11 – 13 lbs).

Very little is thought about this species of the otter as it’s so uncommon, however, it’s assumed that its behavior and so on. are just like these of different freshwater otter species.

In 1998 Hairy-Nosed Otters have been considered extinct as there hadn’t been any sightings for quite a few years, however, a small variety of populations have been rediscovered since then.

The principal threats to this species of otter are from people by way of habitat destruction, fishing, searching, air pollution, and crop cultivation.

They are chestnut to chocolate brown in color with a white-colored throat, jaw, and a part of the higher lip.

The Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana is maybe the least studied and rarest of the world’s 13 species of otter. It is believed to be vulnerable to extinction on account of traditionally heavy searching stress for its pelt and meat, particularly within the northern part of its range (Vietnam, Cambodia), and lack of habitat all through its range.

Historical data counsel it as soon as occurred in a wide range of habitats together with coastal areas, massive rivers, peat swamp forests in lowland areas, and rocky streams in hilly or montane areas as much as 1800 meters elevation.

Hairy-Nosed Otter

In Peninsular Malaysia, there are solely two formally documented data of the species for the reason that 1960’s, each roadkill in areas close to lowland peat swamp forest.

The photographs introduced right here, taken by the creator in May and September 2013 within the protected space of Taman Negara, comprise the first printed data of the species in Peninsular Malaysia because the 1990’s and the first data for Taman Negara. The discovery of the Hairy-nosed Otter within the national park is encouraging for the survival of the species as an entire.

The rivers in Taman Negara are pristine lowland rivers which go by way of undisturbed dipterocarp forest: such habitats have been as soon as widespread in Peninsular Malaysia however are actually a lot decreased on account of deforestation and conversion of land to different makes use of.

Both lone people proven right here have been noticed exploring river banks: they didn’t seem like looking for fish or different aquatic fauna, fairly these otters have been displaying great curiosity within the river banks themselves.

Hairy-Nosed Otters will be present in peat swamp forests, mangrove forests, shallow coastal waters, and canals in southeast Asia.

Hairy-Nosed Otter Description

The hairy-nosed otter has a brief brown fur that turns into paler on the stomach. Its rhinarium is roofed with brief hair. Its higher lip and chin are whitish. Some people are reddish-chestnut in color.

Its body is long, it’s tail slender, and its absolutely webbed paws have outstanding claws. Head-to-body size ranges from 57.5 to 82.6 cm (22.6 to 32.5 in), tail size from 35 to 50.9 cm (13.eight to 20.zero in), and weight from 5 to eight kg (11 to 18 lb).

Its skull is flatter than that of a smooth-coated otter, and it has smaller teeth. Its forepaws are 5.eight cm (2.three in) broad and smaller than the hind paws with about 6.6 cm (2.6 in).

The hairy-nosed otter is the least recognized of the Asian otters and can be essentially the toughest to determine within the discipline. In most different respects, it’s just like the European otter (Lutra lutra).

Hairy-Nosed Otter Traits

The exterior traits which distinguish this species are an especially smooth, sinuous body type, a comparatively flattened head, considerably tough fur, a creamy-white chin, throat, and lips.

The fur alongside the facet of the neck and higher torso is medium brown, which contrasts with the pale fur of the throat and the darkish fur on the remainder of the body.

The rhinarium (the moist, uncovered part of the nostril) is roofed briefly hair. The tail is flattened and oval in cross-section, and the feet are absolutely webbed.

Both lone people proven right here have been noticed exploring river banks: they didn’t seem like looking for fish or different aquatic fauna, fairly these otters have been displaying great curiosity within the river banks themselves.

Other Recommended Articles

Hairy-Nosed Otter Distribution and habitat

This hairy-nosed otter happens in Southeast Asia from southern Thailand, Cambodia, southern Vietnam, and Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra and Borneo. The species is underneath a fixed menace of poaching and presumably extinct in India, Myanmar, and Brunei.

In Thailand, it was recorded within the Pru Toa Daeng peat swamp forest and in areas across the Bang Nara River. It primarily habits lowland flooded forests with climaxing vegetation in three ranges: a major forest zone, a secondary forest zone made up of Melaleuca cajuputi, and a 3rd zone of grasslands.

These tiers make the habitat arduous to penetrate, offering safety from human disturbance and cover from predators. The Bang Nara river habitat, the place communities have been found, is tidal.

The two reserves in Vietnam are each peat swamp forests, surrounded by 15m high Melaleuca cajuputi, coated in dense lianas reminiscent of Stenochlaena palustris in its major zone, and the second zone of meadows made up of Eleocharis dulcis.

These two Vietnamese reserves include many canals and floating aquatic crops like Eichhornia crassipes, Pistia stratiotes, Salvinia cucullata, and Ipomoea aquatica to hunt and play in, with surrounding rice paddies as a 3rd buffer zone.

Hairy-Nosed Otter

Hairy-Nosed Otter Behavior

The hairy-nosed otter happens in coastal areas and on bigger inland rivers, solitary or in teams of as much as 4. Its diet consists of fish, reminiscent of strolling catfish, snakeheads, and climbing perch, and water snakes, mollusks, and crustaceans. During the dry season, people forage in drainage canals and ponds.

The pairing of a male and a feminine could also be restricted to the breeding interval. The contact call between otters is a single-syllabic chirp. Adult females call pups with staccato chatter.

Not a lot is thought about its breeding habits. Populations within the Mekong Delta presumably breed in November and December, and in Cambodia between November and March.

The gestation interval lasts around two months. A family of each parent and cubs have been sighted between December and February.

Foraging is the principle food-acquisition approach on account of elevated variation in monsoonal patterns in recent times on account of the world’s local weather change.


The hairy-nosed otter is the rarest otter in Asia, most certainly verging on extinction within the northern components of its range and of unsure standing elsewhere.

Only a number of viable populations stay, broadly scattered in the area. The species is threatened by a lack of lowland wetland habitats, looking for fur and meat, and unintended killing throughout fishing.

Other recommended Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *