10 facts about smooth-coated otters
1. Smooth-coated otters are also known by many other names.
AKA smooth otter, asian river otter, indian smooth otter, indian smooth-coated otter
2. The more commonly seen species in Singapore is the smooth-coated otter.
We have 2 species of otters in Singapore. The ones residing in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park are smooth-coated otters. They are mainly diurnal. The more elusive oriental small-clawed otters are found at Tekong and Pulau Semaku, and tend to be nocturnal.
3. Home is a den in the river bank.
Smooth -coated otters in Singapore are found in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, along Ulu Pandan river, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Pasir Ris, Marina reservoir, Seletar reservoir and Pulau Ubin.
4. Our otters are friends with the legend himself, Sir David Attenborough.
Smooth-coated otters in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve were featured in a documentary narrated by Sir Attenborough, called Wild City. Watch it here!
5. Otters mark their territories with a strong musky odour
The odour is secreted from scent glands in both males and females. This is called sprainting.
6. It is the female who holds dominance in the group, despite the male being larger
7. Smooth-coated otters swim upstream in a V-formation
Panic-stricken fish to jump out of the water a few meters ahead. Small fish are swallowed whole in the water, large fish are taken ashore
8. Their coats function like a swimsuit
There are 2 layers of thick and velvety fur. The outer layer, called the guard fur, keeps the underfur dry underwater. This helps the otter to retain body heat and stay warm, despite spending much time in the water.
9. Predators of the smooth-coated otters include saltwater crocodiles
10. Smooth-coated otters are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List