Can you keep a small-clawed otter as a pet? Explanation of characteristics, ecology, and habitat


Can you keep the small-clawed otter you see at the zoo as a pet? We will introduce and explain its characteristics, ecology, and habitat. It is the smallest type of otter, and lives in small rivers in Southeast Asia, and many households keep it as a pet, but it is actually designated as an endangered species.

What is a small-clawed otter? About basic status

Asian small-clawed otters are mammals belonging to the Mammalia, Mustelidae, and Aonyx genus. Their scientific name is Aonyx cinerea. They are 41-64cm long, 25-35cm long, 20cm tall, and weigh 2.7-5.4kg. The information is listed below. We recommend that you take your family to see this species.

English(英名)Asian short-clawed otter
Asian small-clawed otter
Oriental short-clawed otter
Oriental small-clawed otter
Small-clawed otter
scientific name(学名)Aonyx cinerea
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Carnivora、Mustelidae、Aonyx
Length(体長)41 – 64cm
Weight(体重)2.7 – 5.4kg

About classification

This is the only species of small-clawed otter, and it constitutes the genus Otter. The following subspecies classification and distribution of the small-clawed otter have been confirmed. They are distributed in India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand, respectively.

  • Aonyx cinerea cinerea
  • Aonyx cinerea concolor
  • Aonyx cinerea nirnai

About habitat

The small-clawed otter is widely distributed throughout Southeast Asia.

feature is? What kind of creature is it?

Asian small-clawed otters live in rivers, swamps, coasts, mangrove forests, rice fields, etc. They got their name from their small claws. They are diurnal but sometimes active at night. Their backs are gray-brown or light blackish brown, and their throats and noses are white or gray-white. Their feet are narrow, and their sea otter-like webbed feet reach all the way to the last joint of their toes. Otters are very active, so keeping them as pets can tire them out. They can swim using their small webbed feet, and can eat crabs, frogs, and schools of fish while swimming.

What is your personality like?

Small-clawed otters love to play. Since they require a lot of exercise, it is necessary to give them toys to keep them from getting bored. This animal is suitable for people who want to actively engage in physical contact with their pets, and they also have a very loud sound.

What is the ecology like?

Asian small-clawed otters are creatures that live in the sea and other waters, feeding on amphibians, crustaceans, shellfish, insects, fish, and reptiles. They are adept at hunting in cooperation with their peers. They are viviparous, with estrus intervals of 24-30 days. They can breed all year round, and can give birth to 1-6 pups at a time. After raising their young, they reach sexual maturity in about 2 years, and can live for 15 years in captivity.

Are there any natural enemies?

The natural enemies of small-clawed otters are carnivores that live near water, such as crocodiles.

Is the small-clawed otter an endangered species?

Unfortunately, Asian small-clawed otters are designated as an endangered species (red list). Furthermore, international trade is severely restricted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It is said that the wild population of Asian small-clawed otters has declined by about 30% in the past 30 years. Today, they are often reported in the news, and are exhibited at events at aquariums and other places along with Canadian river otters and giant otters. They are a protected animal.

Pests destroying rice fields

As you can see by actually touching the small-clawed otter, it moves very well. That’s why I love pranks so much. They are sometimes considered pests and are often exterminated by farmers. Habitat destruction due to agricultural land development and deforestation is progressing, and the population is decreasing.

hunting for fur, etc.

They are overhunted for their fur. Additionally, small-clawed otters are in high demand as pets, and are overhunted for this reason as well. The reality is that poaching and smuggling are rampant.

Can you keep a small-clawed otter as a pet?

It is a pet that is extremely difficult to care for. This is because it is designated as an endangered species, and international trade is strictly restricted by the Washington Convention.

What is the average cost of otters?

The average cost of otters is said to be over 1 million yen per animal when converted to Japanese yen. Consider adopting individuals already in the country or those born from such pairs from zoos or aquariums.

Things needed for breeding

What you need for breeding is a room for the otter, a toilet, toys, and food. We recommend a dog or cat cage for the toilet. Small-clawed otters love to play, so toys are a must. The main food should be cat food, and fish and crustaceans should be given as side foods. It would also be nice to have a pool.

Getting used to skinship

Small-clawed otters have friendly personalities and love physical contact with their owners. They may bite their owners, but be careful not to pull your fingers back as this can cause injury. It has extremely well-developed jaw muscles and is said to have the strength of a large dog. Most of the time it will be a sweet bite, but please be careful.

Be careful of illness

Otters are at risk of parasites, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. In particular, there are cases where the seafood that is fed as food contains parasites. You will need to take measures such as freezing them instead of giving them in the purchased state.


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