Oriental Small-Clawed Otter

Aonyx cinerea

Nimble fingers

The paws of the small-clawed otter are very like human hands. Its fingers are only partially webbed, making them very mobile. That enables the otters to easily seek out molluscs and crabs in the mud. They then use their strong jaws to crack the hard shells.


  • Origin

    India, southern China, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Java, southern Philippines

  • Habitat

    rivers, estuaries and sea coasts

  • Diet

    Oriental small-clawed otters eat fish, molluscs, crabs, worms and other invertebrates.

  • Status

    vulnerable, population is declining

  • Size

    Body length: 45-60 cm; tail length: 25-35 cm

  • Weight

    3 to 6 kg

  • Gestation period

    60 to 63 days

  • Achievable age

    up to 10 years in the wild, up to 15 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

A sense of community

Small-clawed otters are much more sociable than other otter species. Up to twelve of these playful animals live together in a single group. They communicate via distinct calls and smells. They have young once or twice a year, and the cubs are raised by both parents.


Did you know that ...

...small-clawed otters are the smallest otter species in the world,
...their fur provides protection from the cold and wet,
...and small-clawed otter pairs form strong bonds?

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