Fun Smooth-coated Otter Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Smooth-coated Otter Facts For Kids

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The smooth-coated otter (lutrogale perspicillata) is a social, nocturnal, and semi-aquatic mammal. It is the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale. It is also the largest otter in Southeast Asia. It has a smoother and shorter coat than other otter species, but also a more rounded head and a hairless nose shaped like a deformed diamond. The smooth-coated otter (lutrogale perspicillata) is usually described as fish specialist and hunts with otters in groups. They form a clan consisting of 11 individuals and travel in a V-formation going upstream while fishing. An otter group is called a romp, bevy, lodge, family, or raft. It travels long distances overland to find a suitable habitat, such as wetlands and forests, largely located in the Southeast Asia. It is a very intelligent creature with the ability to create and use the tools. It is the only known marine animal with no blubber because its fur keeps it warm. The smooth-coated otter (lutrogale perspicillata) is very closely related to ferrets, badgers and mink and distantly related to the skunk. Its flat tail makes up about 60 percent of the body length. It mark its territory with a strong musky scent spreading on the vegetation from the anal scent glands of both the male and female species, a behavior called sprainting. They are omnivores and they eat water rats, eggs, fish, crustaceans, bird. Due to its declining population, the smooth-coated otter (lutrogale perspicillata) is considered to be a Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List and the Indian smooth coated otter is also considered to be an endangered species.

For more relatable content, check out these river otter facts and European otter facts for kids.

Fun Smooth-coated Otter Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Water rats, eggs, fish, crustaceans, birds, frogs, snakes, amphibians, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

15.4-24.2 lb (7-11 kg)

How long are they?

23.22-25.19 in (59-64 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Very smooth, sleek pelage

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss, Poaching, Pollution Of Wetlands

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Lakes, Rivers, Mangrove Forests, Rice Paddies, Wetland Habitats, Seasonal Swamps


India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, And Iraq, Southwest China









Smooth-Coated Otter Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a smooth-coated otter?

The smooth-coated otter is a semi-aquatic mammal, also comfortable on land. It is the only surviving member of the Lutrogale family.

What class of animal does a smooth-coated otter belong to?

The smooth-coated otter belongs to the class of mammals.

How many smooth-coated otters are there in the world?

There is no specific information given regarding their population but their numbers are decreasing.

Where does a smooth-coated otter live?

The smooth coated otter range in the Southeast Asia, a small number is found in Iraq, but it is the most common in India.

What is a smooth-coated otter's habitat?

They travel long distances overland to find a suitable habitat and are found in swamps, mangrove forests, estuaries, lakes, rivers, rice paddies, rocky shores, and areas with a lot of vegetation. They also live in otter dens, known as holts, which are constructed in a way similar to the layout of a beaver dam, having an underwater entrance with a tunnel leading to an above water nest. The Singapore smooth coated otter has well adapted to the human environments, and has been observed to use the urban structures like gaps under buildings as alternatives for holts, also for the hydroelectric projects.

Who do smooth-coated otters live with?

They live in small groups, usually consisting of a mated pair and their offsprings.

How long does a smooth-coated otter live?

The average lifespan of an otter is between eight to nine years, but there is no specific information provided regarding the smooth-coated otter.

How do they reproduce?

They breed throughout the year, when there is ample food supply. However, they breed between October and February when depending on the monsoon. The male species are polygamous, mating with up to four females. The mating occurs in water and lasts for less than one minute. The pups or whelps are born blind after a gestation period of 60 - 63 days, and they don't open their eyes for almost four weeks. It takes them another month before they learn to swim and they get completely independent after four to five months. These baby otters breed after attaining sexual maturity at two years and have two to five babies at a time.

What is their conservation status?

Their population is said to be declining and so they fall under the Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Indian smooth coated otter is also considered as an endangered species facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Smooth-Coated Otter Fun Facts

What do smooth-coated otters look like?

It has a short and sleek two-layered fur that is dark to reddish brown along the back, but light brown to almost grey underneath. It has a hairless nose, flattened tail, small ears and eyes, short but strong legs with large webbed feet bearing strong claws. It is the largest otter in Southeast Asia, weighing 15-24 lb (7-11 kg) and 23-25 in (59-64 cm) in head-body length, with a tail up to 15-17 in  (37-43 cm) long. The female species have two pairs of teats. Their front legs are shorter than the rear legs, which helps with the swimming. The male species are larger than the female species.

It is overall light to dark brown in color and light brown to gray underneath.

How cute are they?

Yes, smooth-coated otters are quite adorable to watch in their natural habitat. They have also been captured engaging in human-like behaviors, like the holding of hands.

How do they communicate?

The smooth-coated otter, like the other carnivores uses its scent to communicate with both intra and inter species. The process of marking their vegetation, flat rocks, or shortlines near the feeding areas using their scent glands is known as sprainting. They also use visual cues, such as body postures, touch, and auditory cues to communicate with their conspecifics.

How big is a smooth-coated otter?

The average height of a smooth-coated otter is 23.22-25.19 in (59-64 cm), which is 30 times the size of an oriental cockroach.

How fast can a smooth-coated otter swim?

An otter can swim as fast as 6-7 mph (9-11 kph) and dive up to 60 feet deep but there is no specific information provided for a smooth-coated otter.

How much does a smooth-coated otter weigh?

Adult smooth-coated otters can weigh between 15.4-24.2 lb (7-11 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names given to the smooth-coated otters. They are simply referred to as the male smooth-coated otter and the female smooth-coated otter.

What would you call a baby smooth-coated otter?

Baby smooth-coated otters are known as pups or whelps.

What do they eat?

Smooth-coated otters are omnivores and they eat water rats, eggs, fish, crustaceans, birds, frogs, snakes, amphibians, and insects. However, the predator of a smooth-coated otter is the Saltwater crocodiles and other crocodile species. Human beings are also considered as their predators as they are hunted by the poachers for their fur.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, they can be incredibly brutal at times, they have really sharp teeth and the male species sometimes kill the female species during mating.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they look all cute and friendly but they need a lot of food to survive so they are very expensive to take good care of.  They are best to be kept in the ocean because they will not be able to survive in a home that is not maintained according to their needs.

Did you know...

The first ever case of poaching of the smooth-coated otters occurred in January 2013, six juvenile otters were found in a bag at the Bangkok airport, believed to be destined for illegal pet trading. Between 2016 and 2017, seven more otters were offered for sale in Thailand and Malaysia.

How large is a clan of smooth-coated otters?

The clan of a smooth-coated otter can consist up to 11 otters.

How are smooth-coated otters used by fishermen?

Smooth-coated otters help fishermen in commercial fishing. It is most common in Bangladesh, South Asia and China. The fishermen train the otters and then they search for the fishes hiding in the nooks and crannies and try to trap them. They usually herd in groups which makes the catching easier. Fishermen reward the otters in case of a good catch.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Indian elephant facts and African bush elephant facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable smooth coated otter coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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