IUCN Otter Specialist Group . . . leading global otter conservation Last Update: Sunday February 22, 2015
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Lutra sumatrana (Gray, 1865), the Hairy-Nosed Otter (currently being revised)

:: Lutra sumatrana

Click on the images below to see more of this species

None currently available

More photos would be welcomed



A medium-sized otter, around 1.3m in length and weighing around 7kg. The paws are fully webbed with well-developed claws. The fur is dark brown above, slightly paler underneath with a contrasting pale chin and upper lip. The whole nasal area (rhinarium) is covered in short, dark fur.

DNA work has established that this is a true species - some authors previously considered it to be a subspecies of Lutra lutra.

CITES Identification Sheet


The tiny amount of information available suggests this species inhabits peat swamp forests and shallow, coastal oceanic waters.


This species is known from the very small number of recent sightings and roadkill to definitly occur in southern Sumatra, southern Thailand, south west Cambodia and south Viet Nam. It is possible that there are populations in Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia and elsewhere in Indonesia.

Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered, Population decreasing
Year Assessed: 2014
Assessors: Aadrean
Evaluators: Hussain, S.A. (Otter Red List Authority)

There is no information available about population size or the number of mature animals. There is only fragmented reliable information about the species' geographic range.

Current Concerns

Very little is known, but it is likely that this species is threatened by destruction of peat swamp forests for logging and agriculture, and a very high degree of populaton fragmentation making populations numerically vulnerable.

Research is critically needed on all aspects of this species' ecology and biology. It is protected at international and national levels, but legislation at local level, and its enforcement are urgently needed. This species is so rare that there is a good case for ex situ conservation measures (captive breeding and maintenance) to be undertaken.

Leading Researchers

Source: Padma K de Silva, IUCN/SSC Asian coordinator

Budsabong Kanchanasaka   Thailand   Home range studies on hairy nosed otter
Reza Lubis   Indonesia   Survey on the status and distribution of hairy nosed otter in Sumatra (Indonesia).
N. X. Dang & Hiroshi Sasaki   Vietnam   DNA studies on hairy nosed otters.

Key Publications

News on Threats

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