Otters belonging to the order Carnivora of class Mammalia, are semi-aquatic members of the family Mustelidae which also includes weasels, martens, polecats, badgers, skunks, grisons and minks. Otters are placed in the sub-family Lutrinae (Khan W. A. et al.,2010). Genus Lutrogale ;Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) (Ogamba E.N. & Abowei J.F.N.,2012) ( Figure 1) .The smooth otter is the largest otter in Southeast Asia that comment otter. It was named for its shorter, smoother coat than that of other otters with appears velvety and shiny. This otter is monogamous and usually seen – round in small family groups of 4-6 members comprising a pair and their offspring from breeding seasons. It has a more rounded heads and a hairless nose compared to other otters. It also has a tail that is more flattened, in contrast to the more rounded tails of other species and measures 60% of its body length.
Otters dependent on the monsoon rains breed between August and December. Gestation period is 61-65 days. They give birth to 2 to 5 cuns per litter. The young are born and raised in burrow near the water. Smooth Otters may hunt as a team either at night or in the daytime. They capture their prey with mouth, but their strong, webbed feet with sharp claws are dexterous enough to retrieve and manipulate objects. Their food likes fish, frog, prawn and crab.
Besides, smooth-coated otter are excellent aquatic adaptation. It is possible to introduce to each other at all age; it is infinitely more successful when the otters are young (IUCN/SSC, 2008). Hartley R., 2011 had mentioned that as a social animal, the smooth-coated otter lives in family groups consisting of a male, dominant female and cubs. They are a proficient and ready swimmer. Besides, they also have the usual humped otter gait on the land, and can move quite rapidly .It is possible that there are no smooth otters currently in captivity in zoos likes in Zoo Taiping or wildlife parks. Since they are noisy, extrovert and tolerant of humans, adapting well to zoo life, this is surprising (Wright L.C, 2010).
|Scientific classification | |Kingdom: |Animalia | |Phylum: |Chordata | |Class: |Mammalia | |Order: |Carnivora | |Family: |Mustelidae | |Subfamily: |Lutrinae | |Genus: |Lutrogale | |Species: |L. perspicillata |
Smooth coated otter is nocturnal mammal otter and adapted to a semi-aquatic mode of life with flattened head, thick muscular tail, smooth and dense pelage and comparatively large paws that are webbed between digits (Roberts, 1997 ; Khan W. A. et al.,2010). Webbing between all digits but, more extensive on the hind feet. The claws are sharp and probably aid in gripping. The hind feet are generally larger than the fore and the hind legs are longer leading to the typical hump-backed gait when traveling across land supported by Smith J. R., 2008. The hair structure of the Lutrinae has been analysed to see if the different species could be identified using hair characteristics and also to determine if the hair characteristics have an adaptive value or are influenced by the phylogeny of the group (Kuhn, Rachel A. & Wilfried M.,2010).
Otter sites varied significantly from...