Species: Lutra sumatrana
Hairy-Nosed Otter's scientific name is Lutra sumatrana. The
generic name, lutra, means "otter". The specific name,
sumatrana, means "belonging to Sumatra", although its range is
not limited to Sumatra. The hairy-nosed otter is a member of the weasel family,
Mustelidae, in the Mammalian Order of Carnivora. Other mustelids
include ferrets and mink.
The hairy-nosed otter is generally dark
brown dorsally, with a lighter brown underside and whitish throat
and upper lip. This species has a very distinct fur covered nose.
Adults grow to about three feet in length and weigh 14-22lbs.
The range of this species includes Indochina and Malaysia,
although populations seem to be spread throughout this range. Reed
meadows and open swamps are the preferred habitat of the hairy-nosed
otter. The diet is unknown, but one may assume this otter eats prey
similar to that eaten by other Lutra species, which is
primarily fish complimented by crustaceans.
Recent data suggests this species forages in small groups of 2-4
otters. Very little is known about this species, for it is rare.
The hairy-nosed otter was assumed extinct in 1998. Fortunately,
during expeditions to Vietnam and Thailand, scientists confirmed the
existence of this species in 2000, with the initial discovery of
three otter kits. Since that time, hairy-nosed otters have been
observed in Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.