The smallest species of all otters in the world is threatened. It measures only 94 cm (3.1 ft) from head-to-tail and weighs between 2.7 to 5.4 kg (6-11.9lbs). Their body shape is typically slender, streamlined and very flexible. Its dextrous forepaws with claws that do not extend above the fleshy end pads of its toes and fingers help it easily forage for crabs in the rice paddies.
This dexterity created a job for this Asian small- clawed otter. This cleaver little dynamo improves the farmer’s economy by consuming small crabs that are considered agricultural pests. To get to them, they may uproot plants in the irrigated rice fields. Thus, they help control the pest population for the local farmers by wandering in area between patches of reeds and river debris where many crab species (Brachyura) are found. The small clawed otters prefers pond areas and rice fields more than the rivers, but can adapt to a river area with low vegetation. This species spends most of their time on land unlike any other otters.
They, like other otters, help keep a healthy balance in the shellfish and crustacean populations in their habitat. Due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution and hunting in some areas, the Oriental small-clawed otter is evaluated as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, because of rapid habitat destruction, hunting and pollution.
Their population is decreasing. The endangered Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea), is also called the Asian Small-clawed Otter lives in coastal regions, mangrove swamps, tidal pools and freshwater wetlands from Southern India to South China, South-east Asia, Sumatra, Java, and Palawan. It is known from all regions of Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei, and in Central of Kalimantan and in almost all other parts of Borneo.
Excerpts courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Excerpts courtesy of azcentral.com/wildlife-world-zoo-otters.html
Excerpts courtesy of itech.pjc.edu/SCOTTER/ASCO
Image courtesy of sea-way.org/otter2.jpg