Predators and Competitors of the Asian Small-Clawed Otter

The information below comes mainly from Kruuk (1995) and Kruuk, Kanchanasaka et al (1994).


These animals seem to have no natural predators except man. Possibly they may be at risk from snakes or crocodiles, but since they usually frequent shallows, the latter would be less of a problem. Their gregariousness probably protects them from the attentions of most predators - when one of a group is alarmed, the rest tend to run up to see what is happening, and otters are very effective and aggressive fighters, with long canines, strong jaw muscles, tough, loose skin that they can almost turn in.


Amblonyx cinereus shares its range with combinations of three other otter species: the Smooth-Coated Otter (Lutra perspicillata), the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) and the Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana).

Where the first three species are sympatric, they partition resources between them: the Small-Claw eats mainly crabs, the Smooth-Coat mainly large fish (>15cm), and the Eurasian Otter smaller fish and amphibians. To some extent, they use the habitat differently - the Small-Claw keeps to the shallows and riverbanks, the Smooth-Coat preferring deep water, and the Eurasian Otter something in between. They spraint in different kinds of places too - the Eurasian Otter mainly chooses sites near the water's edge, the Smooth-Coat prefers large, flat rocks in very prominant positions, high up, and the Small-Claw prefers flat rocks high up, but in less prominent positions. All three have been seen to regularly visit and sniff each other's spraint sites, evidently recognising them as of fellow otters, and presumably determining some kind of resource and territorial information from them; Kruuk doesn't say whether they added to each other's heaps as they would to conspecifics' sites; it would be interesting to know whether they do or not.

Asian Small-Clawed Otter