Creatures of the Amazon
Giant Otter
Pteronura brasiliensis
By Mike Collis

The Giant Otter or Lobo de Rio (River Wolf) as its known locally lives only in Amazon and Orinoco Basins with a few living in the River Plate.This otter is really big reaching up to 6 feet head to tip of tail and can weigh up to 75 lbs. The Giant Otter is a member of the Weasel family and with their strong tails and webbed feet are amazing swimmers. Their fur is water repellent and they have the ability to close their ears and nostrils when swimming.

Fish are their main diet and they hunt by themselves or in packs. When they hunt in packs these very clever mammals work as a team to catch the most fish. Otters are very energetic animals and consume a lot of energy so on average an otter will eat up to 9 lbs of fish per day. They also consume crabs, other crustaceans and snakes, and will eat other small river dwellers if they show themselves.

Giant River Otters live in burrows along the river banks or under fallen trees, this is their territory which they will defend at all costs. Otters live in family groups with the young pups living with their parents who always stay with the same partner.

All otters give birth on dry land and the Giant Otter is no exception. The females give birth to up to 6 young who grow quickly. The pups stay and the Giant Otter in the burrow with their mother for about a month , after about 9 months the pups are fully grown and will soon start making their own way in the world.

Otters have always been hunted throughout the World and the Giant Otter is believed to be the most rarest with only a thousand or two left in the wild. Over the last 4 years the Giant Otter is believed to be making a come-back with an increasing number of sightings every year.
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