It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the sea otter may be heavier. Subadults leaving in search of new territory find it impossible to set up family groups. But these animals stretch across an area similar in size to the continental United States, making them extremely rare! Fish remains were of medium-sized species that seem to prefer relatively shallow water, to the advantage of the probably visually oriented giant otter. Limits on the number of tourists at any one time, fishing prohibitions, and a minimum safe distance of 50 metres (164 ft) are proposed to offer further protection. [66] While the two species are sympatric (with overlapping ranges) during certain seasons, there appeared to be no serious conflict. Otters are carnivorous mammals that belong to the subfamily Lutrinae. Weights are between 26 and 32 kg (57 and 71 lb) for males and 22 and 26 kg (49 and 57 lb) for females. [72] A number of restrictions on land use and human intrusion are required to properly maintain wild populations. In seasonally flooded areas, the giant otter may abandon campsites during the wet season, dispersing to flooded forests in search of prey. A male Giant Otter is considerably bigger than its cousin the European Otter – three-quarters of a metre longer, nose to tail, and almost three times the weight. [59], Local people sometimes take pups for the exotic pet trade or as pets for themselves, but the animal rapidly grows to become unmanageable. A family comes out of their home for an afternoon activity. Otters are generally considered to be small and fluffy animals, but there are 11 other species of otter. [61] They clear significant amounts of vegetation while building their campsites. The otter, which has been dubbed Siamogale melilutra, was much larger than today's otters at around the size of a wolf and weighed up to 50kg. This makes it easier for the adults to catch enough fish for the growing young, and for the pups to learn how to catch fish. So just how big is the Giant Otter. The Otter size isn't twice as big, they'd be 68lbs to the 45lbs of the Cougar but again, you're going off of 3 specimen only which is a very small sample size and I don't know if one was an outlier or not. Iceberg guide: how they form, where they’re found, and how they’re used by wildlife, Corvids of the UK: how to identify, where to see them, and whether they are intelligent, Cougar guide: how to identify, diet and habitat, Mink or otter? The giant otter is also rare in captivity; in 2003, only 60 animals were being held.[4]. The IUCN lists Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela as current range countries. Giant otters become mature between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. © Sergio Pitamitz/Getty. Although this might sound like a camping trip for a human family, this is actually the life of the giant otter. Many people find this particular Otter to be different in size and shape from others. Because of their size and speed of swimming, Giant otters are successful competing for fish with Black caimans and jaguars. [37] The species has likely been extirpated from southern Brazil, but in the west of the country, decreased hunting pressure in the critical Pantanal has led to very successful recolonization; an estimate suggests 1,000 or more animals in the region. Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. [56], The species can hunt singly, in pairs, and in groups, relying on sharp eyesight to locate prey. [51], The giant otter is very sensitive to human activity when rearing its young. The giant otter is the South American cousin to the sea and river otters of North America, as well as those of Europe and Africa. Do giant otters live in a group? By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions and privacy policy. [73][74] Water pollution from mining, fossil fuel extraction, and agriculture is a serious danger; concentrations of pesticides and other chemicals are magnified at each step in the food chain, and can poison top predators such as the giant otter. As well as otters, mustelids include weasels, badgers, martens, and wolverines. Pretty cool, pretty terrifying. [12] The giant otter shares the South American continent with three of the four members of the New World otter genus Lontra: the neotropical river otter, the southern river otter, and the marine otter. Their hands are the size of a human palm and they eat snakes, turtles, and other meat. Other mustelids include ferrets and mink. The 13 species range in adult size from 0.6 to 1.8 m (2.0 to 5.9 ft) in length and 1 to 45 kg (2.2 to 99.2 lb) in weight. Giant ottters are very sociable animals and often live in groups of up … Two subspecies are currently recognized by the canonical Mammal Species of the World, P. b. brasiliensis and P. b. paraguensis. Try 3 issues of BBC Wildlife Magazine for just £5! [69][76], In 2006, most of this species lived in the Brazilian Amazon and its bordering areas. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). 8 m (4.9′ – 5.9′) in length. The otter can attack from both above and below, swiveling at the last instant to clamp the prey in its jaws. Average group size in Manu is about 6, with the largest consisting of 14 members, in Cocha Salvador. Quick hah barks or explosive snorts suggest immediate interest and possible danger. Otters are generally considered to be small and fluffy animals, but there are 11 other species of otter. [1] P. b. brasiliensis is distributed across the north of the giant otter range, including the Orinoco, Amazon, and Guianas river systems; to the south, P. b. paraguensis has been suggested in Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina,[13] although it may be extinct in the last three of these four. [47] Study of captive specimens has found only males initiate copulation. [24] The fur is extremely dense, so much so that water cannot penetrate to the skin. [51] Other causes of death include accidents, gastroenteritis, infanticide, and epileptic seizures. ... is nonviable in a fight against two giant otters. Giant otters are 5.6 feet. Giant otters adopt communal latrines beside campsites, and dig dens with a handful of entrances, typically under root systems or fallen trees. All three names are in use in So… The survival of the giant otter populations in the Guianas is essential to the survival of this endangered species in South America. The giant otter is an especially noisy animal, with a complex repertoire of vocalizations. Other indirect impacts are also likely to harm them. Giant otters most common prey is fish but they have been known to take some of the more feared Amazonian animals such as caiman, anacondas and piranhas! However, in 2012 after the new house opened, the percentage of time the giant otters spent on show rose dramatically to 84% … [6] All three names are in use in South America, with a number of regional variations. [43][44] Within groups, the animals are extremely peaceful and cooperative. [59] Otters do not visit or mark every site daily, but usually patrol all of them, often by a pair of otters in the morning. Just so you know, the giant otter … Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). One report suggests maximum areas 28 m (92 ft) long and 15 m (49 ft) wide, well-marked by scent glands, urine, and feces to signal territory. [38] [17] (The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is the fourth Lontra member.) Giant otter muzzles are short and sloping and give the head a ball-shaped appearance. Otter family attack two teenage boys swimming in California lake. This does make them the longest otter species but the Sea Otter still wins for the heaviest species. Group hierarchies are not rigid and the animals easily share roles. "Giant otter" translates literally as nutria gigante and lontra gigante in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively. It is native to South America but is endangered and is also very rare in captivity. 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