IUCN Otter Specialist Group . . . leading global otter conservation Last Update: Tuesday January 3, 2012
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Questions and Answers: In-Depth Responses

We have a small nature park in the South of Thailand, Krabi, and we have some otters swimming in the river. We don't know what kind of otters but if you ever have anyone in this area could you please come by and visit us at the Giant catfish Farm.

Nina Barnett, 16 September 2007

Response from Budsabong Kanchanasaka

I am familiar with Krabi. There are two species of otter that it is likely to be - the Smooth-Coated Otter, Lutrogale perspicillata, or the Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Aonyx cinereus. From your description of them swimming, it is likely they are the Smooth-Coated Otter, which is quite large, and which is a strong swimmer. The other species is small, about the size of a cat, and you are more likely to see them along the shallows and river banks.

You can easily tell them apart from their tracks - the Smooth-Coated Otter has large, webbed paws with strong claws, whereas the Small-Claw has small paws with fingers rather than webs and no claw marks. It would be a nice thing to tell your visitors that they might see otters as well.

If I am in your area soon, I will come and visit you.

From Nina Bartlett:

Thank you for your email. These otters are quite large and of course very cute. We can see them in the early morning around 06:00. They eat the fish we have in the river. Yes, I like to make a sign for the visitors at the park but I didn't know what kind of otters they were but thanks to you, I have an pretty good idea now. They must be the Lutrogale perspicillata. I don't know how to find otter tracks to be sure but I read that the small- clawed otters eat crabs and shells and not fish and these otters definitely eat fish! Our address is 47 Moo 6, Ao Nang, Krabi, 81000. We are on the road to Klong Muang Beach.

We look forward to meeting your representative, Budsabong Kanchanasaka some day and thank you again for your kind assistance it was much help.

Response provided 18 September 2007