Hairy-Nosed Otter

 

Common Name: Hairy-nosed Otter
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Carnivora
Family:
Mustelidae
Genus:
Lutra
Species:
Lutra sumatrana

 

Taxonomy/Description

The 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.

Habitat/Diet

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.

Behavior/Reproduction

Recent data suggests this species forages in small groups of 2-4 otters. Very little is known about this species, for it is rare.

Conservation

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.

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.