Tuesday, 18 October 2016


There was a lot of rather cute squeaking going on near the gate to the otter pool at the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre.  Why?  The otters are fed at designated times through the day and this fence faces the direction where the purveyor of tasty nibbles will walk.
At last the fish have arrived.  Should I eat it this way?
 Or sideways?
I'm eating mine down here in the cooling stream. 

 These are Asian Short Clawed Otters (the smallest otter in the world) and the photo above shows its small claws with incomplete webbing between the digits.  This enhances their manual dexterity, useful when feeding on molluscs and crabs.  These adorable creatures also have a crowd pleasing trick of juggling stones on their hands, it is a very social species which likes to play.   Unfortunately I did not capture one of them doing their party trick as the stone was dropped immediately the fish arrived. 
and they got to grips with their silver slipperiness.
The Asian Short Clawed Otters here are a family, Robbie, Daisy and their offspring Dili. The species are on the Red List meaning they are vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss and also hunting for their skins and also their organs which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the wild they live in mangrove swamps and fresh water wetlands with a range from India to South East Asia as shown on the map below.
Oriental Small-clawed Otter area.png
This little family were more local and relocated to Cotebrook from Chester Zoo who are running a breeding program to increase their numbers and create new breeding lines.

I hope this helps their numbers increase.  Our own indigenous European Otters had a catastrophic decline in the 1950s and 60s due to pollution, habitat destruction and drainage of wetlands and almost completely disappeared from England (a Scottish population remained).  With positive action, the banning of organo-chloride pesticides and the improvement of river quality, over the years our otters have returned, so maybe there is hope for the Asian Short Clawed Otter.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at O here 


Melody Steenkamp said...

They are so cute... from a distance, I don't think its safe to touch them though

Lovely choice for O... animals always do good

Have a wonderful ABC-day / - week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

Photo Cache said...

Wow, how incredible that you captured them this close.


Hildred said...

One of my sons has a family of otters that live in the creek on their property, - and a beaver and moose and coyotes and the occasional bear....

Amit Agarwal said...

Oh..look at the expression at the first one's face;):)

Roger Owen Green said...

talk about FRESH fish...


GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I hope they make a comeback. I think you are the first person to use O for otter! Great post.


carol l mckenna said...

Oh they are so cute and what wonderful photographs you took of the otter(s)

Wishing you a Happy Week ^_^

Powell River Books said...

Otters are such expressive animals. One time two came to visit our float cabin. They swam around underneath and played around for almost an hour. Then they left and swam around the point until they were no longer visible. - Margy

Indrani said...

Such cute creatures! They look best in the open.
Happy ABCW!

Leslie: said...

So sorry to be late commenting, but it's been a hectic week! Otters are very intriguing animals - one of my former students did a study on them one year, and did an awesome job! She even taught me more about them!

abcw team

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

It is interesting you should blog about the South East Asia otter where I am from. You are the first person to read this the first time. When I was little, my uncle "foolishly" dammed up a creek, and fashioned a fish pond. We used to help harvest the fish. They found unwanted "wild" fish which even the otter won't eat. Instead the otter ate all the prized farmed fish.