Friday, 14 January 2011

Otters!

No, there are no otters in the Barron River. Recently we spent Christmas holidays in Sarawak and at the Cultural Centre in Kuching, I observed a troupe, pack, bevy (or whatever you would call them) of otters in a large pond on the premises. This was not far from the river and the otters seem to have moved in and taken over the pond. I sent photos to the Camera Trap Codger for identification and he prompted this blog.

It seems that these are Asian or Oriental Small-clawed Otters, Aoynx cinerea, the world's smallest otter. They form small family groups and defend them strongly against non-family intruders. The Codger informs that zoos get into trouble when they try to introduce new members to a group. The newcomers often received fatal injuries or lost limbs.

This is the pond harboring the group of otters. I counted nine with several juveniles amongst them.
Otters are often inquisitive and members of the group kept a close watch on those oddballs on the bank.
The group was actively feeding and although they are known to prefer shellfish rather than fish, I saw them feeding on what appeared to be catfish.
I was a considerable distance away from the group but you could hear them crunching (or crushing) their food. I now believe they were crunching on some sort of shellfish at least part of the time.


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