Giant otter

Don’t be fooled by their harmless appearances; they can hunt caiman, piranhas, and anacondas in the wild!

Steve Wilson

The largest of otters, they are amongst South America’s top carnivores, also known as ‘river wolf’. Their fur is chocolate brown and incredibly soft with a pattern of large creamy white patches under their long neck, which is unique for each individual. They have wing-like tails and webbed feet, allowing them to swim 100 m (330 ft) in less than 30 seconds.

The current primary threats to their population are habitat loss and fragmentation, and pollution. They also suffered from being hunted excessively until the late 1970s for their valuable fur. Some fishermen who see them as competition for fish still illegally kill them.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Argentina
2020
Presence Uncertain
Bolivia
2020
Brazil
2020
Colombia
2020
Ecuador
2020
French Guiana
2020
Guyana
2020
Paraguay
2020
Peru
2020
Suriname
2020
Uruguay
2020
Presence Uncertain
Venezuela
2020

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No