Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Asian Small-Clawed Otter Aonyx cinerea

Type of Animal:

Freshwater & brackish (mix of fresh & salt water) habitats: Streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, tide pools, estuaries, swamps, mangroves, rice fields, creeks, marshes, coastal areas, swamp forest, mangrove forest, reservoirs, canals, & drainage ditches. Can be found in tropical, subtropical, & submontane areas.

India (West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu), Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, SE Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, S China

Smallest otter species, brown fur w/ whitish neck, webbed paws, whisker on muzzle, short sharp teeth.

Crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, snails, mussels, shellfish, insects, rodents, snakes, crayfish, eggs

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos& aquariums

Family groups consist of monogamous pair & up to 2 litters of offspring, each litter w/ around 6 pups.

Additional Info:


Adult-2.2-11 lbs
Young-4.48-4.96 oz

2 months

Body Length:
3 ft

Life Span: 
10-15 years in wild, 20 years in captivity

Tail Length:
0.83-1.16 ft

Main predators are snakes, crocodiles, hawks, felids, dogs, & bears.

Threatened due to habitat loss, pollution, hunting for fur, agriculture, & human encroachment.

Family groups will mob attack at predators.

More terrestrial than other otters.

Groups mark territory w/ scents and scratches.

Have vocabulary of up to 12 calls.

Pups leave family group when one of parents dies.

These animals are very active & playful.

Pups don’t open eyes until 40 days after birth.

They can be quite noisy, often chirping.

Fun Fact(s):
Fishermen have used these otters to drive fish into nets.

They can bite w/ sharp teeth if provoked.

Can dive underwater for up to 6-8 minutes.

Found in Mustelid family w/ badgers, wolverines, ferrets, & weasels.

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