Asian Small Clawed Otter

(Aonyx cinerea)

Habitat and Distribution: Found in coastal mangrove swamps, marshes, freshwater wetlands, and rice paddies throughout Southeast Asia, southern China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Size: 2-3 feet long including tail; 5-12 pounds

Wild Diet: Crabs, mussels, crayfish, snails, fish, frogs, insects, bird eggs, rodents, snakes, worms and small aquatic mammals

Predators: Humans, crocodiles, large snakes, and wild cats

Reproduction: Asian small-clawed otters mate for life and both parents help raise the young. Females deliver up to 6 pups after a gestation
of 60 days and may have up to two litters per year. Pups are unable to swim until nine weeks. They may continue to live with their parents in groups of up to 4-12 individuals until they are ready to start their own families.

Behavior: Asian small-clawed otters are primarily diurnal
and spend more time on land than any other otter. They are highly social and love to play on mud banks, sliding into the water or juggling pebbles. Males are submissive to females and will hunt and gather food for females and young pups.


IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Asian small-clawed otters are threatened by rapid habitat destruction and pollution. They also may be sold as pets in some countries, considered pests by rice farmers, trained by fishermen to drive fish into nets, or hunted for their pelts
and meat.

Did you know?

  • Asian small-clawed otters let clams dry in the sun to make them easier to break open.
  • They build burrows along water banks with entrances as deep as 3 feet under the water’s surface.
  • Unlike other otters, they catch prey with their paws (not their mouths). Their paws are only partially webbed, giving them greater dexterity than other otters.