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Amazon Giant River Otter

Amazon Giant River Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) are a highly social mustelid (member of the weasel family) and are often found in groups of five to nine. These groups are very territorial consisting of either an adult pair and their offspring or a harem. The group members constantly maintain interaction by screeches, whines, and loud high pitched calls. Individuals can be identified by a different pattern of spots on their throat.

Giant Otter Facts

Feeding – Giant otters hunt individually or in groups. Their diet mainly includes fish, but they also eat crustaceans and some other manageable vertebrates if the opportunity arises. When eventually caught, fish are often eaten at the surface with the otter on its back holding the animal with its front paws.

Alarm – Giant otters communicate danger by an explosive snort signalling alarm. This results in the entire group surfacing, craning their necks, and joining the defensive chorus.

Defense – Giant otters are aggressive defenders of their young. There are even accounts of them frightening off jaguar when their pups are in danger.

Habitat – Some slow moving waterways of the Amazon or the Pantanal provide ideal giant otter habitat. They prefer to live where they enter and exit the water with ease, usually choosing areas with sloping banks.

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