Pteronura – Giant otter

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

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.