Spotted Necked Otter
Central Africa, they are abundant in both Lake Victoria and the Lakes Tangangyika, and also may be found in the moister parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
They require permanent and continuous waterways and prefer clear water with rocks. They are found in lakes, swamps, rivers, and may be found in mountain streams at higher elevations.
Length: 2.8 – 3.4 ft; weight: ~20 lbs
Young (# and name: foal, calf, cub, etc.):
Carnivore: eats mainly fish, also frogs, crabs, molluscs, aquatic insects, and larvae
Omnivore diet, fish
Life spans (captivity):
Status (common, threatened, endangered, etc.):
CITES - Appendix II
Threats (to the wild population):
The spotted-necked otters are in decline due to changes in their environment and human interference. One problem is the increased use of nylon fishing nets, in which the otters get tangled in and die. Erosion of soil near the source of the rivers is also a threat. Fish-farmers and fur-trappers are also playing a part in the decline of the spotted-necked otter.
Anatomy/Physiology (anything unique or interesting):
The spotted-necked otter can be recognized by the brown and white spotting on the throat and underside. The rest of the body color ranges from a reddish brown to a chocolate brown. These otters are sleek and slender. They are characterized by strongly webbed toes (with the webbing going all the way to the tips of the digits), well developed claws, sharp teeth, and long tails. The females are shorter, lighter, and less muscular than males. The texture of the hair is thick and velvety. Their guard hairs are 13 to 16mm long and their under fur is 7mm long.
They are usually solitary, but can be found in small family groups, depending on the time of year.
Habits (unique to species/collection animals):
The males have a big home range within which more than one female may be located. The mother takes care of her cubs for approximately one year. The father may play a role in raising the young.
Communication (vocalization, etc.):
Otters may be vocal and have various calls ranging from a contact call, which consists of a harsh mewing, to a high pitched squawking distress call.
Fish, also frogs, crabs, mollusks, aquatic insects, and larvae
Locomotion (type, top speeds, etc.):
They are one of the most proficient swimmers of all freshwater otters.
Activity (diurnal, nocturnal):
Crepuscular, but can be diurnal as well
Any interesting story/fact (species or collection animal):
Otters love to play, both with each other and alone. They are one of the only species known to play as adults. They are able to play because they are so good at hunting and avoiding predators that they have the extra time to play. Like many other animals no two Spotted-Necked Otter's markings are the same. Their thick fur keeps the otters warm in the water by trapping air bubbles under their fur so that their skin never gets wet.