BPCZ Lowerres 03211

Asian Short-Clawed Otter

AG568 0033

General Information

These otters, also known as oriental small-clawed otters, are the smallest species of otter in the world. Otters are a member of the weasel family, with a similar long body shape. They are diurnal, active in the daytime, and in the wild they eat a variety of fish, crabs, invertebrates, reptiles, birds and small mammals. They use their sensitive webbed feet to find food under rocks on the river bed, their whiskers to detect prey in the water and their strong rudder-like tail to help them swim.

Otters also have two layers of fur – one acts as a waterproof coat, the other as a thermal layer.

This species of otter uses special calls to communicate with each other and can vocalise 14 different sounds. 

CA632118 8B48 4751 8504 FC87D4A94E94

Latin name - Aonyx cinerea

Class - Mammalia

Order - Carnivora

Family - Mustelidae

IUCN Status - Vulnerable

Habitat - Freshwater wetland and mangrove swamps

Distribution - Indonesia, S India, S China, SE Asia and the Philippines


Habitat destruction, pollution, the illegal pet trade, fur trade and hunting.


Up to 21 years in captivity

Fun facts

They are incredibly dexterous creatures. With the very short claw, they use their paws to search in the shallows for tasty morsels. This skill is often used to practice juggling with stones, shells, grapes or cherry tomatoes!

Our residents

Tia and Mr Darcy

BPCZ Lowerres 09094

Sign up to our newsletter

Join our mailing list in order to keep up to date with Zoo news and special offers.