SMOOTH-COATED OTTER/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: The most common otter of India, the smooth-coated is easily identified by its well-groomed grey–brown coat with a clear line demarcating a lighter (normally grey) underside. The lips, cheek, throat and chest are of this lighter colour. The Smooth-coated Otter differs from the Eurasian Otter in having V-shaped nostrils set on a dusky nose pad or rhinarium that has a flat or a very slightly convex upper margin, and a tail that is clearly flattened towards the tip like a paddle. There are no spots on its muzzle. The feet are well webbed on all digits and the webbing extends to the second joint in each digit with the third joint being free of webbing. Its paws are brown but lighter than the body. The tracks of the Smooth–coated Otter are bigger than other Indian otters. Like other Indian otters, the female Smooth–coated Otter has two pairs of mammae.

BEHAVIOUR: Known to roll around grassy banks after defecation. Spraint sites may smell of rotten fish.

DISTRIBUTION: Throughout India, with the exception of the high Himalayas and the arid parts of north–west India and the Deccan.

HABITAT: Essentially a creature of the plains, it inhabits lakes, rivers, dams,irrigation canals and swamps. They are as much at home in deep dam sites as in  shallow, flooded rice paddies and mangroves but may prefer less fast-flowing waters than Lutra lutra. They also prefer sloping banks with vegetation where available.

 Size: 59–75 cm

IUCN Status: Vulnerable


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