The Pantanal is a great place to spot the Giant Otter, located in South America, precisely in the Orinoco, Amazonas, and La Plata rivers. The Pantanal’s wetland is an excellent place to spot the Giant Otter in its natural habitat while experiencing the beautiful surroundings. However, there are many reasons to be amazed by this mammal apart from its size. For many travelers, seeing a glimpse of the Giant Otter in the wild can be the highlight of their trip. This powerful predator is the largest-sized otter globally; it can be six feet long and weigh 75 pounds.
These adorable creatures have families constituted by two parents living in a monogamous relationship and their offspring. They will look after one another while hunting fish or burrowing their dens under boulders and ledges and in driftwood and tangles of vegetation. While river otters dig their burrows, cape clawless ones do not.
Otters are also very social and spend time grooming and communicating with one another. They use nine different sounds to communicate, each of them with a different meaning.
Baby otters are born ashore. Females give birth in their underground dens and deliver one to six young; these do not leave the shelter for a month. Baby otters grow fast though, after the ninth month, they can be the same size as their mother.
Not great swimmers at first, but later
Contrary to what many might think, Giant Otters are not born good swimmers since they do not fully develop their sea legs until they turn two months old, but once they are ready, otters become very graceful and agile swimmers. They use their tails to propel themselves in the water while flexing their bodies. Other features like webbed feet, water-repellent fur, and nostrils and ears that close, make otters ideal for the water.
Hunting for food
Otters are good hunters; they hunt either alone or in groups with excellent coordination. Their diet mainly consists of fish and, to a lesser extent, crustaceans, snakes, and other life forms. The Giant Otter´s daily intake quota consists of six to nine pounds of food.
It is undoubtedly a pleasure to watch the Giant Otter in their natural habitat; however, they have become more difficult to find since they are endangered. The Giant Otters’ existence is threatened by hunters who trade with their pelt and by deforestation. Conservationists are working hard to prevent the Giant Otter from extinction; hopefully, these efforts will lead to more charismatic mammals swimming in the rivers.
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