Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spotted-necked Otter

Hydrictis maculicollis
The Spotted-necked Otter can be found in many of the rivers and lakes of Sub-Saharan Africa. They prefer to live near clear, continuous, fresh water, and will build dens near these sources.

When it comes to Otter size, this species is on the small end of the scale-- full body and tail length tops out around 1m, and females are generally smaller and lighter than the males. They can be identified by their sleek brown coats, and by the namesake white and brown spots on the neck and underside.

Spotted-necked Otters live either alone or in very small family groups and they tend to be more social during the breeding and birthing seasons. However, some father Otters will help to raise the pups, while others do not. Regardless of how many otters they live with, these guys certainly love to play, and will splash and frolic either alone or in groups.

One of the reasons that Spotted-necked Otters prefer clear water is that they hunt almost exclusively by sight. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, and amphibians.

Unfortunately, their need for such specific water conditions may lead to a decline over time. Habitat loss and pollution are two current conservation concerns.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa
Size : Length around 40in (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Mustelidae -- Genus : Hydrictis -- Species : H. maculicollis

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