The Congo Clawless Otter's scientific name is Aonyx
congica. The generic name,
aonyx, which means
"not-clawed", refers to this otter species' clawless forelimbs. The
specific name, congica, means "belonging to the Congo region
central Africa", which is its primary range.
The Congo Clawless Otter is a member
of the weasel family, Mustelidae, in the Mammalian Order of
Carnivora. Other mustelids include ferrets and mink.
Generally colored brown with white underbellies, Congo clawless
otters lack claws on all digits, with exception of the second, third
and fourth digits of the hindlimbs. Adults range in length from 4-5
in length, weighing 30-70lbs.
This species range stretches from the Congo River
basin directly west to the Atlantic coast of Africa. Rainforest
steams and ponds are the preferred habitat. Their front paws are
completely clawless with minimal webbing, giving them an appearance
very similar to human hands. They use their incredibly dexterous
paws to grab prey such as mollusks and crustaceans.
clawless otter is nocturnal and solitary. Little else is known
about its behavior and even less is known about its reproductive.
It is closely related to the cape clawless otter, so similar
behavior and reproduction may be assumed.
Like most the
cape clawless otter, the Congo clawless otter was once hunted for
its fur. However, this species is currently threatened by the
deforestation, occurring throughout Africa. Habitat loss will
result in the decline of this species, which is already rare.