Hello there! My name is Lutragale perspicillata, you can call me ‘Lut’. I am the Smooth-coated one.
Did you know that “Otters are animals that you never knew you needed to know about”?
Today is International Otter Awareness Day? To celebrate, the WILD OTTERS team invited me to tell you more about my family.
We otters are found ALL over the world, on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. There are 13 species of otters across the globe.
In India, I live with two of my other cousins, the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) and the Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus).
My little cousin Small-clawed is pretty shy, but today he’s come out to say HEY because it’s International Otter Awareness Day.
“Every otter has its day”, today is ours :)
We’d like to show you how awesome we are!
Honestly, we catch fish better than most. We are the apex predators in our freshwater ecosystems.
Many of you may not know, but some of us are your neighbors. If your house is along the river might be living RIGHT next door to you!
Places like these (images below) is where we enjoy spending time.
We even cross the roads to go from one side of the river to the other! We leave our paw prints behind, and sometimes we even poop there ‘heeheehee’
My kind of otters, the smooth-coated ones live in families. Here is my family.
We live in freshwater rivers across India, and in few places, we’ve also learnt to live in mangroves! We’re fast in water, but we’re equally sure footed on land as well. We’re pretty versatile that way :)
Our flat, tapering tails and our webbed feet make us excellent swimmers!
Our long whiskers help us detect and hunt fish even in murky waters.
We have many homes a.k.a “dens” that we keep shifting between throughout the year. We always make sure that we’re close to flowing water. We poop outside our den as it is a symbol of our territory.
This is one of our largest houses.
We prefer to live in clean rivers. Our presence is an indicator of the heath of the river. You can call us ‘Freshwater Ambassadors’.
We love our family, and we live together as a close nit unit.
Our motto is “A family that poops together stays together!”
Researchers also call our poop “spraint”, and get very excited when they find it.
What’s the big deal about otter poop?
Otters are very elusive mammals. Direct sightings are rare. Otter poop (spraint) is a key evidence that helps to establish otter presence. It is also used to do otter diet analysis and genetic identifications.
We often revisit our defecating sites. As our diet is mostly fish you will find remains of fish in our poop.
As our poop is the mark of our territory we often poop on high ground to avoid it being washed away.
We spend more time grooming ourselves than most of your actors and actresses, it helps keeps our fur smooth and shiny *cause we’re worth it* because clean and healthy fur well-insulated fur.
Let me introduce you to some of our young ones! They may look innocent, but they’re total brats
Although they are born swimmers, they have to be taught how to dive, and their parents have diving classes for them till they become pros.
How to know if you have otters for neighborhood
Here are some clues you can look for:
Clue No. 1: Direct otter sighting, if you’re lucky!
Clue No. 2: Presence of an otter den
Clue No. 3: Otter defecating areas or spraint signs
Clue No. 4: Visible grooming sites
Clue No. 5: Otter paw prints
Keep visiting our website to know us better, plus we’ve got a lot of fun stuff coming up soon!
We thank our supporting organisation for their support :)