Amblonyx cinereus, Oriental small-clawed otter

Amblonyx cinereus

Oriental small-clawed otter

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The Small AAmblonyx cinereus, Oriental small-clawed ottersian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), also known as the Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, or the Javan Mongoose, is a species of mongoose found in the wild in South and Southeast Asia. It has also been introduced to various parts of the world.

This species of mongoose is sympatric with Herpestes edwardsii in much of its native range and can be readily distinguished from the latter species by its much smaller size. The body is slender and the head is elongated with a pointed snout. The lengths of the head and body is 509-671mm. The ears are short. They have five toed feet with long claws. The sexes differ in size with males having a wider head and bigger size.

They use about 12 different vocalizations.
Distribution and habitat

This species occurs naturally throughout most of southern mainland Asia, from Iraq to China, as well as on the island of Java, at altitudes up to 2200 m. It has also been introduced to dozens of islands in the Pacific and Caribbean, and a few in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, as well as to mainland Venezuela. It is capable of living among fairly dense human populations.

The mongoose was introduced onto Okinawa Island in 1910 and Amami Ōshima Island in 1979 in an attempt to control the population of venomous habu and other pests; an invasive species, they have since become pests themselves.

Mongooses lives in scrublands and dry forest. On Pacific Islands they live in rainforests as well.
Diet

These mongooses mostly eat insects but are opportunistic feeders and will eat crabs, frogs, spiders, scorpions, snakes, and birds and bird eggs.
Behavior and reproduction

Mongooses are mostly solitary although males will sometimes form social groups and share burrows. Pregnancy duration is up to 49 days. A litter can consist of 2-5 young.
Introduction to Hawaii

The 1800s were a huge century for sugar cane, and plantations shot up on many tropical islands including Hawai’i and Jamaica. With sugar cane came rats, attracted to the sweet plant, which ended up causing crop destruction and loss. Attempts were made to introduce the species in Trinidad in 1870 but this failed.[6] A subsequent trial with four males and five females from Calcutta however established in Jamaica in 1872. A paper published by W. B. Espeut that praised the results intrigued Hawaiian plantation owners who, in 1883, brought 72 mongooses from Jamaica to the Hamakua Coast on the Big Island. These were raised and their offspring were shipped to plantations on other islands. Populations that have been introduced to these islands show larger sizes than in their native ranges.They also show genetic diversification due to drift and population isolation.

Only the islands of Lana’i and Kaua’i are (thought to be) free of mongooses. There are two conflicting stories of why Kaua’i was spared. The first is that the residents of Kaua’i were opposed to having the animals on the island and when the ship carrying the offspring reached Kaua’i, the animals were thrown overboard and drowned. A second story tells that on arriving on Kaua’i one of the mongooses bit a dockworker who, in a fit of anger, threw the caged animals into the harbor to drown.
[edit] Invasive species

The mongoose introduction did not have the desired effect of rat control. The mongoose hunted birds and bird eggs threatening many local island species. The mongooses bred prolifically with males becoming sexually mature at 4 months and females producing litters of 2-5 pups a year.

Mongooses can carry leptospirosis.

Aonyx-cinerea, Oriental Small-clawed Otter

Aonyx-cinerea

Oriental Small-clawed Otter

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The OrientAonyx-cinerea, Oriental Small-clawed Otteral Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea), also known as Asian Small-clawed Otter, is the smallest otter species in the world.

The Oriental Small-clawed Otter is found in mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It prefers to live near water.

The full grown otters measure approximately 0.9m from nose to tail tip, and can weigh up to 5kg. It feeds on fish, frogs, crabs, crayfish and shellfish.

This otter is especially distinct for its forepaws, as the claws do not extend above the fleshy end pads of its toes and fingers. These attributes give it human-like proficiency and coordination to the point which it can use its paws to feed on mollusks, crabs and other small aquatic animals.

The Oriental Small-clawed Otter lives in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding and previous offspring helping to raise the young.

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.This species was formerly thought to be the only member of the genus Amblonyx, however it has recently been confirmed as Aonyx after mitochrondrial DNA analysis (Koepfli and Wayne, 1998).

Aonyx cinerea

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum : Chordata Subphylum : Vertebrata Class : Mammalia Order : Carnivora Suborder : Caniformia Family : Mustelidae Subfamily : Lutrinae Genus : Aonyx Species : Aonyx cinerea Common name : Asian Small-clawed Otter, Oriental Small-clawed Otter, Small-clawed Otter

Lutra lutra, European Otter

Lutra lutra

 European Otter

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The Euro Lutra lutra, European Otter pean Otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the Eurasian otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter and Old World otter, is a European and Asian member of the Lutrinae or otter subfamily, and is typical of freshwater otters.

It differs from the North American river otter by its shorter neck, broader visage, the greater space between the ears and its longer tail.

The European Otter is the most widely distributed otter species, its range including parts of Asia and Africa as well as being spread across Europe. It is believed to be currently extinct in Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. They are now very common in Latvia, along the coast of Norway and in Northern Britain, especially Shetland where 12% of the UK breeding population exist[3]. In Italy, they can be found in the Calore river area.

The European Otter’s diet mainly consists of fish but can also include birds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and sometimes small mammals, including young beavers[4]. In general this opportunism means they may inhabit any unpolluted body of freshwater, including lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, as long as there is good supply of food. European Otters may also live along the coast, in salt water, but require regular access to freshwater to clean their fur. When living in the sea individuals of this species are sometimes referred to as “sea otters”, but they should not be confused with the true sea otter, a North American species much more strongly adapted to a marine existence.

Behavior and reproduction

European Otters are strongly territorial, living alone for the most part. An individual’s territory may vary between about one and forty kilometres long (about half to 25 miles), with about 18 km (about 11 miles) being usual. The length of the territory depends on the density of food available and the width of the water suitable for hunting (it is shorter on coasts, where the available width is much wider, and longer on narrower rivers). The territories are only held against members of the same sex, and so those of males and females may overlap Males and females will breed at any time of the year, and mating takes place in water. After a gestation period of about 63 days, one to four pups are born, which remain dependent on the mother for a year. The male plays no direct role in parental care, although the territory of a female with her cubs is usually entirely within that of the male. Hunting mainly takes place at night, while the day is usually spent in the European Otter’s holt (den) – usually a burrow or hollow tree on the riverbank which can sometimes only be entered from under water.
Conservation

The European Otter declined across its range in the second half of the 20th century primarily due to pollution from pesticides such as organochlorine pesticides (OCs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Other threats included habitat loss and hunting, both legal and illegal. European Otter populations are now recovering in many parts of Europe for example in Britain the number of sites with an otter presence increased by 55% between 1994 and 2002. Recovery is partly due to a ban on the most harmful pesticides that has been in place across Europe since 1979 , partly to improvements in water quality leading to increases in prey populations, and partly to direct legal protection under the European Union Habitats Directive and national legislation in several European countries. In Hong Kong, it is a protected species under Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 170. They are listed as Near Threatened by the 2001 IUCN Red List.

Lutra sumatrana, Hairy-nosed Otter

Lutra sumatrana

 Hairy-nosed Otter

The Hairy-nLutra sumatrana, Hairy-nosed Otterosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) is one of the rarest otter species on earth, and was thought to be extinct in 1998 as there had been no sightings for many years, but a tiny number of populations have been rediscovered since then.

At present, it is believed to live mainly in two nature reserves in Vietnam, Toa Daeng peat swamp forest in southern Thailand, and in Sumatra, the place for which it was named. It was rediscovered in 2005. It was also rediscovered in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. Even from these places, they are known from a tiny number of sightings and some roadkill, and from skins.

In June 2008, the Wildlife Alliance-led Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team received a donated Hairy-nosed Otter originating near the Tonle Sap in Cambodia. Working with Conservation International, they established a safe home for the rescued otter at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where they hope it will become part of a future captive breeding program.

The most recent record of the species was on September 2008 in U Minh Ha National Park in southern Vietnam when researchers said they have found two hairy-nosed otters.

Measurements

Weight: 11 to 13 pounds (5.0 to 5.9 kg)

Head-body length: 20 to 33 inches (51 to 84 cm)

Tail length: 14 to 20 inches (36 to 51 cm)[9]

Identification

The hairy-nosed Otter is the least known of the Asian otters, and is also the most difficult to identify in the field. The hairy-nosed Otter gets its name from the hairs on the end of its rhinarium (moist part of its nose); in most other respects it is similar to Eurasian Otter, Lutra lutra. Hairy-nosed Otter is entirely brown, except for lips, chin and upper throat, which are whitish. Fur is rather rough but short. The tail is flattened and oval in cross section. Feet are fully webbed between the digits. Claws are prominent. The penis of the adult male is not visible externally. The contact call between otters is a single-syllabic chirp; adult females call to cubs with a staccato chatter. Large otters are very similar and can be positively distinguished only by close inspection of the nose and fur, or the skull. In this species, skull is flatter than that of Smooth Otter, Lutrogale perspicillataI and has smaller teeth.[10]

Ecology and habitat

The hairy-nosed otter can be found in coastal areas and on larger inland rivers, solitary or in groups of up to four. Diet includes fish and crustaceans. Pairing of male and female may be limited to the breeding period.

Distribution and status

South East Asia: Myanmar, South Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia. Include Sumatra and Borneo. Extremely few individuals survive in Vietnam, southern Thailand, Sumatra and Cambodia, being menaced by poaching.

Conservation

The Hairy-nosed Otter is the rarest otter in Asia, most likely verging on extinction in the northern parts of its range and of uncertain status elsewhere. There are only a few remaining viable populations, widely scattered in region. Species is threatened by loss of lowland wetland habitats, hunting for fur and meat, and accidental killing during fishing.

Lutrogale-perspicillata, Smooth Otter

Lutrogale-perspicillata

 Smooth Otter

Lutrogale-perspicillata
Smooth Otters are the largest otters in Southeast Asia. They are named for their shorter, smoother coats which appears velvety and shining. Like other otters, they have shorter tightly packed under fur and longer guard hairs which are water repellant.
Unlike seals, which are insulated by a thick layer of fat, otters are very lean and it is their fur that keeps them warm, and provides a streamlined surface. Smooth Otters are distinguished from other otters by their rounder heads with prominent naked noses, and more flattened tails.
Smooth Otters like to eat fish but they eat whatever is plentiful and easy to catch. Prey include crustacea, frogs, water rats, turtles and even large birds. They may hunt as a family group, using teamwork to catch their prey. A group usually have a feeding territory of 7-12 sq. km and they hunt both during the day and at night
Like other otters, Smooth Otters are excellent divers and swimmers. They close their ears and nostrils when underwater. When swimming slowly, they paddle with their strongly webbed front and back paws. When swimming quickly, the front limbs are kept close to the body while back legs and the flattened tail propels them. Their tails are powerful and long (can make up 60% of their body length). They can swim for long distances and stay underwater for 6-8 minutes with a single breath. Smooth Otters catch their prey in their mouths, but their paws are dextrous and they use them to retrieve and manipulate objects. They have large strong claws. With their whiskers, they sense water movements and thus find prey even in murky water. Strong molars are used to crush crustacea and molluscs.
Like other otters, their front feet are shorter than their hind feet. Otters have five toes; thus you can distinguish otter prints on the sand from those of dogs’ which have only four toes.

Like other social animals, Smooth Otters have developed complex communication involving mainly smell, but also calls. Otters have a distinctive heavy, musky smell. They have a pair of scent glands at the base of the tail which they use to mark vegetation. Their scent marks their territorial boundaries and tells other otters about who they are and whether they are ready to breed. Smooth Otters in a group use the same communal latrines (spraints), which is often the first sign that they have set up home in the area. Their alarm call is a whistle, and when excited they make short yelping barks.

Otters are very playful and are among the few mammals that play even as adults. Play helps youngsters develop co-ordination, and strengthens bonds within the group.

Smooth Otters are mostly found in the lowlands, in mangroves, freshwater wetlands, large forested rivers. Although adapted for water, Smooth Otters are equally comfortable on land and can travel long distances overland in search of suitable habitats. They may shelter for a while in shallow burrows, piles of rocks or driftwood. Some may build a permanent burrow near water, with an underwater entrance, but the tunnel eventually leads to a chamber above the highwater line.

Breeding: Smooth Otters form strong monogamous pairs. Although the male is larger, it is the female that dominates the group. In areas with good weather and food supply, they breed year round. The gestation period is 63-65 days. Smooth Otters give birth to and raise their young in a burrow or shelter near water. Usually 1-2 cubs are born in a litter. Cubs are born blind and helpless, and develop slowly. They only open their eyes at 1 month, and start to swim at 2 months. They continue to suckle for 3-4 months and only leave the family at about 1 year old. They reach breeding age at 2-3 years. Unlike other River Otters where the female raises the young alone and excludes the male, Smooth Otters form small family groups of a mated pair with up to 4 offspring from previous seasons.

Role in the habitat: Smooth Otters control the population of their prey. In turn, they are food for larger predators higher up in the food chain.

Status and threats: CITES II. Smooth Otters appear to be the most common otter throughout most of their range. But Smooth Otters are shy and hard to spot and study. Fishermen in India and Bangladesh train Smooth Otters to herd fish into nets. In Pakistan, they are trained to attract dolphins. Like other wetland creatures, Smooth Otters are threatened by habitat loss and pollution.