Otter's scientific name is Lutrogale perspicillata. The generic
name, lutrogale, may mean “helmeted otter", possibly referring to
the domed skull of this genus. The specific name, perspiciallata,
may mean "keen eyes", possibly referring to the more frontally
spaced eyes of this genus.
The smooth-coated otter is a member of the weasel family, Mustelidae,
in the Mammalian Order of Carnivora. Other mustelids include ferrets
The Smooth-Coated Otter is generally
brown dorsally, with a lighter underside and throat. Rounder heads
and flatter tails are two characteristics by which one may
distinguish this otter species. They are the largest species of
Southeast Asian otter, with adults growing to about four feet in
length and weigh 15-25lbs.
This otter species lives throughout Southeast Asia, including the
eastern Middle East, Indian subcontinent through northern Indonesia
and Malaysia. Smooth-coated otters prefer mangrove swamps and
forested wetlands with access to sea. Fish are the primary component
of its diet, complimented with crustaceans and insects.
Smooth-coated otters live in family groups. A monogamous breeding
pair and their offspring of several years comprise the group. The
breeding female is dominant. Mating may occur at any time throughout
the year, but is usually synchronous with monsoon season. One to
four cubs are born after a gestation of two months. Cubs leave the
family group after one year, reaching sexual maturity at two years.
As with most otter species, industrialization has caused population
decline. Deforestation and drainage of wetlands has limited the
available habitat for this species. Habitat destruction, coupled
with pollution is threatening the well-being of the smooth-coated
otter, despite protective legislation throughout its range. One
subspecies of this otter may already be extinct. The status of the
Iraqi subspecies is currently unknown, but researchers estimate it