Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


SE Asia fauna ...  
 Large Mammals
 Small Mammals
 Mammal calls
 Lizards & Crocodilians
 Frog calls
Freshwater Fishes
 Marine & Brackish Fishes
Species Lists


New Guinea herptiles ...  
Snakes   Lizards   Frogs  
SE Asia Vert Records (SEAVR) archives ...  
  Indochina Records
  Indonesia & PNG Records
Philippines Vertebrate Records (PVR)  
Philippines Records  
Email :
  New or updated pages ...

Search this site ...




Email :

Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Smooth Otter

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6



Family : Mustelidae
Species : Lutrogale perspicillata

Head-body length : 52-75 cm
Tail length : 35-45 cm
Weight : 7-11 kg

A medium-sized species, the Smooth Otter inhabits coastal areas such as estuaries and mangroves, and inland water bodies such as lakes and reservoirs. They are usually encountered in family groups of around 4 to 6 individuals which may include near-adult offspring from different breeding seasons. The litter comprises one or two cubs.

They feed on fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Identifying features include the buff-coloured throat and underparts, the short, smooth fur and the hairless nose. The feet are large and webbed, and the tail somewhat flattened.

The Smooth Otter ranges throughout mainland Southeast Asia as far west as India, and in Sumatra. In Singapore, the species has become more common in recent years, having become adapted to highly modified aquatic habitats such as reservoirs and wide, concretised storm drains, where it feeds mainly on non-native fish species.

In 2017 the population of Smooth Otter in Singapore was been proven to be a rare hybrid between Lutrogale perspicillata and Aonyx cinerea (Moretti et al, 2017).

Fig 1 : An adult pair (male in foreground) keep watch over their unruly pups.

Fig 2 : Smooth Otter pups are highly boisterous and playful.

Fig 3 : The pups return to their parents.

Fig 4 : Muddy mangrove inlet at low tide - a habitat favoured by the Smooth Otter.

(Figs 1 to 4 from Sungei Buloh, Singapore).

Fig 5 : Adult male consuming a fish in a freshwater canal at Byram, Penang state, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 6 : This small group of otters was observed in open marine habitat off Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang, Peninsular Malaysia. They were steadily moving along the coast, catching and consuming fish.

References : M1, M2

Moretti, B., Al-Sheikhly, O.F., Guerrini, M., Theng, M., Gupta, B.K., Haba, M.K., Khan, W.A., Khan, A.A. &  Barbanera, F.  (2017). Phylogeography of the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata): distinct evolutionary lineages and hybridization with the Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus). Scientific Reports, 7.

Links :
Ring of Bright Water - A Close Encounter
with the Otters of Sungei Buloh

Conservation Links :
IUCN Otter Specialist Group
International Otter Survival Fund