Using random encounter models, we estimated that the transformed area had the highest density of African clawless otters (8.2 ± 2.3 km−2), compared to otter densities at Verloren Vallei and Cobham Nature Reserve, South Africa, (natural areas) with estimated densities of 0.7 ± 0.2 km−2 and 2.1 ± 0.6 km−2 respectively. Although it is born with tiny claws it loses these on all toes except the middle three on the hind feet. Their dense, short fur insulates their bodies when they are swimming, their webbed back feet provide them with power, and their strong tails act as rudders. They sometimes will eat ducks, geese, coots, swans, mollusks, dragonfly larvae, reptiles, shrews, and small birds. The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter. They are sometimes hunted for their thick, soft pelts, which humans use in forms of clothing. Male otters are slightly larger than females on average. It occurs in any large area of suitable habitat to the south of the Sahara, except the Congo Basin. This exhibit, called Otter Cove, is more than 5 times the size of their previous home and it features a 12,000 gallon pool of water. 1% Group size: 1 – 3 Abundance as of May 2015: 3 individuals . They weigh be­tween 10 and 22 kg. They are independent and reproductively mature from the age of 1 year. African clawless otters can be found anywhere from open coastal plains, to semiarid regions, to densely forested areas. They range through most of sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo River basin and arid areas, where they are replaced by the related Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congicus). The African Clawless otter is the third largest species of otter in the world. They spend most of their lives in the water, and they are made for it! The earliest known species of otter, Potamotherium valetoni, occurred in the upper Oligocene of Europe: A. capensis first appears in the fossil record during the Pleistocene. They will use their front feet to extract food hidden under logs or rocks or in the mud. Territories are marked using a pair of anal glands which secrete a particular scent. Weaning takes place between 45 and 60 days, with the young reaching full maturity around one year of age. Its feet are webbed to enable the best swimming conditions. Congo clawless otters are characterized by only partial webbing (between the toes of their back feet and no webbing on their front feet), and small, blunt, peg-like claws. They dive after prey to catch it, then swim to shore again, where they eat. Females give birth to litters containing two to five young around early spring. African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis)Altitude range: 1900 m Main habitats: Water and water-edge vegetation. Since the otter lacks an insulating layer of body fat, its only means of warmth is provided by its thick coat of fur. African clawless otters have thick, smooth fur with almost silky underbellies. An African clawless otter does most of its hunting in water. As predators, they may have an influence on the numbers of their prey species: crabs, fish, frogs, and insects. The majority of their time awake is spent swimming, foraging, hunting, playing, and sunbathing. Their sensitive whiskers help them to find food in the water by detecting the movement of aquatic animals. Little is known about the mating system of African clawless otters. In freshwater habitats, they eat primarily crabs, and they also eat insects, frogs, and various species of fish. Adults are 113–163 cm (45–64 in) in length, including their tails that comprised about a third of their length. Mainly aquatic creatures, their tails are used for locomotion and propel them through the water. African (Cape) clawless otter (Aonyx capensis): The African clawless otter is one of four species of otters found in Africa. African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. [2] They are characterized by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived. 6 inch / 15.24 cm 9 inch / 22.86 cm (+$3.00) 12 inch / 30.48 cm (+$7.00) 24 inch / 60.96 cm (+$12.00) 36 inch / 91.44 cm (+$17.00) A summary of the interesting facts about the Cape Clawless Otter Aonyx capensis found in Southern Africa - amazing information about: habitat, gestation, size, age, longevity, lifespan, color, distribution Slow and rather clumsy on land, they build burrows in banks near water, allowing for easier food access and a quick escape from predators. SIZE: 1.3 to 1.5m: WEIGHT: Up to 20kg: DIET: Earthworms, frogs, freshwater crabs, mud dwelling fish. Groups of 4 to 6, consisting of 2 to 3 adults with 2 to 3 young, are sometimes seen, and larger groups sometimes form to forage. Each still having its own range within that territory, they mostly keep to themselves unless seeking a mate. Staying cool means spending time in the water, and using burrows as a way to escape the highest temperatures of the day. Common Name: African Clawless Otter Binomial Name: Aonyx capensis Identification: Quite large size.Dark-brown coat (appears black when wet). The second largest out of all freshwater species, the African clawless otter is well known for its luxurious hair, very silky in appearance and to the touch. Their sleek, streamlined bodies are perfect for diving and swimming. Otters are the only serious swimmers in the weasel family. Finger-like digits. African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. Otters have been a favorite at the Zoo for years, and now they have new and upgraded habitat. Hybridisation of Asian small-clawed otter females with smooth-coated otter males occurred in Singapore. [4] Aonyx is closely related to the extinct giant Sardinian otter, Megalenhydris. They dive for fish, with dives lasting 6 to 49 seconds, with an average of 18 seconds per dive. Otters also have long, slightly flattened tails that move sideways to propel them through the water while their back feet act like rudders to steer. According to the MPALA LIVE resource, the total number of African clawless otters in South Africa is around 21,500 individuals. The African Clawless otters at the Metro Richmond Zoo have a new home! In some areas within its large range, these otters are killed for their sleek fur, or for the use of other body parts in traditional medicines. Inside its short, broad muzzle are relatively small teeth, which are adapted for catching fish instead of the crustaceans that the clawless otters eat. In forested areas, logging may be a major threat, since erosion leads to greatly increased turbidity in rivers which can in turn greatly reduce the populations of fish on which the otters depend. The Cape clawless otter is the second-largest freshwater species of otter. Their tail mea­sures 465 mm to 515 mm long and is typ­i­cally stout and ta­pered. They are well known for the luxurious hair that they have. Decal Size. African clawless otters are mainly carnivores. Silver tips to the end of hairs on the neck and head and dark patches of fur between the eyes and nostrils. Shop African Clawless Otter Dark T-Shirt designed by Wildlife Arts by Roger Hall. The diet of Aonyx capensis primarily includes water-dwelling animals, such as crabs, fish, frogs and worms. The item is printed on a highly durable, reusable material and can be ordered in a variety of custom sizes. The largest otter is the giant otter. Although usually found in water, these otters can also travel long distances overland. However, what is known is that after mating, males and females go separate ways, returning to their solitary lives. This species inhabits a wide variety of freshwater habitats, such as streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as marine habitats, including rocky seashores, as long as freshwater can be accessed, which is essential for washing and drinking. 1990). Paws are partially webbed with five fingers, and no opposable thumbs. Each otter is very territorial over its particular range. Their large skulls are broad and flat, with relatively small orbits and short rostra. This may well be a far greater threat to otters than hunting. White lips, chin, throat and upper chest. Percentage of Lolldaiga used: ca. The African clawless otter is Africa’s most widely distributed otter, from Senegal, through most parts of West Africa as far as Ethiopia, and in the south to South Africa. Molars are large and flat, used for crushing of prey. All lack claws except for digits 2, 3, and 4 of the hind feet. Size: 130 cm: Mass: 10 -18kg: Lifespan: 20 years: Conservation Status: Least Concern: Description. All lack claws except for digits 2, 3, and 4 of the hind feet. Guard hairs cover the body, acting as insulation. 1. Mating takes place in short periods throughout the rainy season in December. It is the third largest species of otter. Their head and body length ranges from 762 mm to 880 mm. Weight: Males +/- 15 kg (33 lbs), females +/- 15 kg (33 lbs) Gestation: 2 months Young: Litters of 2-3 Habitat: Rivers, marshes, dams and lakes; also, dry stream beds if pools of water exist. The Asian small-clawed otter groups with the African clawless otter and the smooth-coated otter into a sister clade to the genus Lutra. Dark-brown coat (appears black when wet). Adults range in size from 1.15-1.5m (3.8-5ft), and weigh from 16-20kg (35.3-44.1lbs) (Foster-Turley et al. They have light to dark brown fur on their backs with a white face, throat, belly and ears. Living in Africa, environments can become very hot. Other information: Only known for along the Timau River on south boundary of Lolldaiga. The African Clawless Otter is the second largest of all freshwater species. It is widely-distributed across South Africa and the second largest freshwater otter species in the world, reaching between 113 and 163 cm in length and weighing between 12 and 21 kg. Chestnut in color, they are characterized by white facial markings that extend downward towards their throat and chest areas. Up to 35% off T-shirts, Mugs, Tote bags and More! Adults range in size from 1.15-1.5m (3.8-5ft), and weigh from 16-20kg (35.3-44.1lbs) (Foster-Turley et al. They are also used for balance when walking or sitting upright. Male otters are slightly larger than females on average. Molars are large and flat, used for crushing of prey. Breeding occurs mostly during the dry season, though it may take place at any time of the year. Only the giant otter and sea otter are larger. African claw­less ot­ters are the largest Old World otter species and 3rd largest species of otter over­all. Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students.ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. The number of crabs in an area determines how many otters live there. It is very silky in appearance as well as to the touch. They have very playful personalities, especially once they have eaten. The African clawless otter has been reported as living in family size: 110-150 cm (body 79-95 cm, tail 50-56 cm) weight: 12-17 kg. Though mostly solitary animals, African clawless otters will live in neighboring territories of family groups of up to five individuals. After bouts of hunting they may leave the water to dry off or to play. This species is most active at dawn and dusk (known as crepuscular). Weights can range from 10–36 kg (22-80 lbs), with most otters averaging between 12 and 21 kg (26-46 lbs). Straight after eating, an otter will clean its face with its forefeet. Clawless otters have slender, serpentine bodies with dense, luxuriou… They have a head that is larger than the other species of Otters which is a distinguishing characteristic when you see them in photos or books. During the day they sleep in burrows or dens. Exclusions Apply. front feet are not. Only the giant otter and sea otter are larger. Mammal Species of the World lists six subspecies of Aonyx capensis:[1], Until recently the Congo clawless otter was considered a subspecies as well, but recent authorities treat it as a separate species A. Litters can number 1 to 3 pups, but up to 5 per litter have been known for animals in captivity. It is believed to spend much more time on land than other otters. Surviving mostly in southern Africa, the otters live in areas surrounding permanent bodies of water, usually surrounded by some form of foliage. African Clawless Otter on The IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawless_otter, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/1793/0. Cape clawless otters grow to a maximum of 2m (with the tail) in length and can weigh 18kg in weight. African Clawless Otter Wikipedia article -, 2. congicus.[2][4]. This and the fact that young are raised solely by the females may suggest that African clawless otters exhibit a polygynous mating system. Currently this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing. Tshepiso L Majelantle, Andre Ganswindt, Rowan K Jordaan, David J Slip, Robert Harcourt, Trevor McIntyre, Increased population density and behavioural flexibility of African clawless otters (Aonyx capensis) in specific anthropogenic environments, Urban … Other otters have fully webbed feet and strong, well-developed claws. The African clawless otter is the most abundant otter species in Africa. Other predators would include the crocodile and fish eagles. They are mainly nocturnal in urban areas and lie up during the day in quiet, bushy areas. It is widely-distributed across South Africa and the second largest freshwater otter species in the world, reaching between 113 and 163 cm in … Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), captive. It is the third largest species of otter. The ears are small and rounded. Development, deforestation, overgrazing, wetlands being drained, and water extraction all impact negatively on the quality of the aquatic habitat and surrounding vegetation on which these animals depend. Bronx Zoo zoologist observing Sam, the African clawless otter, soaking in ice water, Wayne, New Jersey, April 1971 Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images Their fore paws come in handy as searching devices and are great tools for digging on the muddy bottoms of ponds and rivers, picking up rocks and looking under logs. An African clawless otter makes complex vocalizations, including grunts, low and high-pitched whistles, squeals, moans and mews, as well as “hah” sounds that are thought to express anxiety. The biggest threat to African clawless otters comes from humans. If threatened, a high-pitched scream is emitted to warn neighboring otters and confuse a predator. Free Returns High Quality Printing Fast Shipping. Afterwards, both males and females go their separate ways and return to their solitary lives once more. Named after their clawless feet, this otter is also known as the Cape Clawless Otter. LENGTH. Otters along the trail are protected, as it falls within the Tsitsikamma National Park. These otters have a bigger body-to-brain ratio than all other carnivores in southern Africa, which could be the reason for their cleverness and dexterity. Aonyx specimens will often forage in man-made fisheries and may be hunted or become entangled in nets. African (Cape) clawless otter (Aonyx capensis): The African clawless otter is one of four species of otters found in Africa. In the False Bay area of the Cape Peninsula, they have been observed scavenging along beaches and rocks and hunting in shallow surf for mullet. To stay warm, on the other hand, the otters depend solely on their thick fur. This species may also be affected in some areas by loss or degradation of its habitat. They return to burrows (holts) for safety, cooling or a rubdown using grasses and leaves. This species is named for its webless front feet. The word aonyx means "clawless", derived from the prefix a- ("without") and onyx ("claw/hoof"). African clawless otters dry and groom themselves by rolling in grass and rubbing themselves against rocks and soil and basking in the sun. “We started our study with the idea that this otter was just a larger version of a sea otter or an African clawless otter in terms of chewing ability, that it would just be able to eat much larger things. Male African Clawless Otters have an average body mass of 13.4kg. The African Clawless Otter is similar in appearance to the Congo Clawless otter. Sometimes they are killed because people believe that they compete with humans for fish, or because they get the blame for a raid on a fish farm or the death of domestic hens or ducks. Gestation lasts for about 63 days. The young otters love playing and engage in play-fighting, swimming, playing with food and sliding on rocks, even fetching small pebbles tossed into the water as they sink to the bottom. On land, they either trot like a seal or walk slowly, sometimes travelling over 7 km between one body of water and another. They are born altricial (in an undeveloped state and needing parental care) but after 16 to 30 days open their eyes and can leave their den. Learn how and when to remove this template message, 10.1644/1545-1410(2001)671<0001:ac>2.0.co;2, Habitat selection by the Cape clawless otter (, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=61069&fileId=S0952836900000236, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=African_clawless_otter&oldid=992321496, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from August 2010, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 17:35. Group of three camera trapped. Fine art decal of an African Clawless Otter. An African clawless otter is a solitary animal. South Africa, which has an abundant crab population, is home to an estimated 21,500 African clawless otters. 0.25 otter / km of disturbed river (Rowe-Rowe 1992a), 0.8 otter / km of less-disturbed river (Carugati & Perrin 2006) and 0.5 otter / km of coastline (Verwoerd 1987) yields an estimated population size of 30,276 individuals (16,552– 19,377 mature). In contrast, the much smaller clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) eats mainly fish, but also crab, abalone and Cape rock lobsters as well as birds, molluscs, amphibians and rodents. Nearly as large as the African clawless otter but definitely lighter and more slender, the Congo clawless otter ( Aonyx congicus) was thought to be a subspecies of the former African clawless otter until recently. Their large skulls are broad and flat, with relatively small orbits and short rostra. SIZE: Length (including tail) 1,3 m, mass 14 kg. Quick in the water and burrowing on land, A. capensis does not have many predators. Adults range in size from 1.15-1.5m (3.8-5ft), and weigh from 16 … African clawless otter. It is a robust, strong animal; the second-largest freshwater otter species in Africa and the third-largest in the world. Extremely sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) are used as sensors in the water to pick up the movements of potential prey. Weaning takes place after 45 to 60 days old. 1. African claw­less ot­ters are the largest Old World otter species and 3rd largest species of otter over­all. As the name suggests, these Otters don’t have claws. The Otter Trail is a hiking trail in South Africa named after the African clawless otter, which is found in this area. These animals are acrobatic, curious and clever, and are perfectly adapted to the aquatic environment in which they live. The otter, Siamogale melilutra, weighed about 110 pounds — bigger than any living otter. The exhibit is called Otter Cove and is five times the size of the previous home and features a 12,000-gallon pool. 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