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giant river otter

Giant otters served as Yaku runa's canoes. The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), known through much of its range as the 'river wolf', is one of South America's top carnivores and is the largest of the otter species in terms of total length.The muscular, sinuous body is covered with velvety, brown fur, which is dense and water-repellent. The giant river otter is the longest member of the Mustelidae or weasel family. Following the banning of fur trade, giant otter numbers have recovered across South America. The giant otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. [37] [6] All three names are in use in South America, with a number of regional variations. Pteronura brasiliensis. Stable Threatened Endangered. Other researchers suggest approximately 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) and note a strong inverse correlation between sociality and home range size; the highly social giant otter has smaller home range sizes than would be expected for a species of its mass. [65] While the two species are sympatric (with overlapping ranges) during certain seasons, there appeared to be no serious conflict. Giant river otters are endangered and knowledge about this species is incomplete, especially in the Brazilian Amazonia, which holds large populations of the species. The species is territorial, with groups marking their ranges with latrines, gland secretions, and vocalizations. Locally, they are known in different interesting names like ‘Lobo de Rio’, or the River Wolf, and ‘Los Lobos del Rio’, or the Wolves of the River. Farmers follow, creating depleted soil and disrupted habitats. The largest of the Mustelidae family: This family of mammals includes Weasels, River Otters, Martins, and Ferrets. [62], Research generally takes place in the dry season and an understanding of the species' overall habitat use remains partial. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Giant Otter is relatively territorial and peaceful but has also been found to be aggressive in some groups of this species. The otter can attack from both above and below, swiveling at the last instant to clamp the prey in its jaws. The species prefers freshwater rivers and streams, which are usually seasonally flooded, and may also take to freshwater lakes and springs. The IUCN listed the giant otter as "endangered" in 1999; it had been considered "vulnerable" under all previous listings from 1982 when sufficient data had first become available. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). [11], The otters form the subfamily Lutrinae within the mustelids and the giant otter is the only member of the genus Pteronura. In the wild, it has been suggested, although not systematically confirmed, that tourists cause similar stresses: disrupted lactation and denning, reduced hunting, and habitat abandonment are all risks. The giant otter is the longest of the otter species but shares a similar weight with the sea otter.Male giant otters can attain a length of 1.5-1.7m (4.9-5.6ft). In order to improve our knowledge for species conservation, we present data on site and refuge use by giant river otters in the Amanã Reserve, Brazilian Amazonia. of food daily. Giant river otters: One of the Amazon forest's top predators 04 November 2016 (5425 visits). In captivity, this may increase to 17, with an unconfirmed record of 19. They give birth between August and September, and the young pups emerge for the first time in October and November, which are the months of lowest water and fish concentrations in the dwindling lakes and channels are at their peak. Giant Otter This South American otter is the world's largest, at some 6 feet long. The giant otter is clearly distinguished from other otters by morphological and behavioural characteristics. The estrous cycle is 21 days, with females receptive to sexual advances between three and 10 days. [71] Specific threats from human industry include unsustainable mahogany logging in parts of the giant otter range,[68] and concentrations of mercury in its diet of fish, a byproduct of gold mining. It lives exclusively in the river systems of the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata. [24] The nose (or rhinarium) is completely covered in fur, with only the two slit-like nostrils visible. [58], Local people sometimes take pups for the exotic pet trade or as pets for themselves, but the animal rapidly grows to become unmanageable. [64], The species has also appeared in the folklore of the region. The giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the largest member of the mustelid family, which includes otters, weasels, and ferrets, and are by far the loudest member of the group.Giant river otters are very sociable and live in families of between 3-10 individuals that hunt together. More recently, habitat destruction and degradation have become the principal dangers, and a further reduction of 50% is expected in giant otter numbers within the 20 years after 2004 (about the span of three generations of giant otters). They also have webbed feet, water-repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water. [22] As the name suggests, the giant otter is the world's largest otter species and is well-known from wildlife documentaries. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. Gymnotids, such as the electric eel, and the large silurid catfish are among aquatic competitors. It is regulated internationally under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): all trade in specimens and parts is illegal. The largest member of the weasel family, the Giant River Otter. The giant otter or giant river otter[3] Giant River Otter Fun Facts. Giant river otter cubs are born totally covered with fur; indeed, the species is one of the only carnivores with a fur-covered nose, according to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Other threats to the giant otter include conflict with fishermen, who often view the species as a nuisance (see below). When in the water, the giant otter faces danger from animals not strictly preying upon it: the electric eel and stingray are potentially deadly if stumbled upon, and piranha may be capable of at least taking bites out of a giant otter, as evidenced by scarring on individuals. The species was listed as endangered in 1999 and wild population estimates are typically below 5,000. [60] They clear significant amounts of vegetation while building their campsites. [44], Giant otters build dens, which are holes dug into riverbanks, usually with multiple entrances and multiple chambers inside. Known throughout much of their range as 'river wolf', they are amongst South America's top carnivores. River otters eat 15% to 20% of their total body weight each day. It is one of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics. As the name suggests, the giant otter is the world's largest otter species and is well-known from wildlife documentaries. The Giant River Otter can grow to be over 5 feet long. [37] At least one case of a change in alpha relationship has been reported, with a new male taking over the role; the mechanics of the transition were not determined. In 2004, Peru created one of the largest conservation areas in the world, Alto Purús National Park, with an area similar in size to Belgium. (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. [54] If fish are unavailable, it will also take crabs, snakes, and even small caimans and anacondas. [59], Giant otters use areas beside rivers for building dens, campsites, and latrines. The fact that it is exclusively active during the day further suggests its eyesight should be strong, to aid in hunting and predator avoidance. Giant River Otter. This decline is largely due to habitat loss and commercial fur hunting. The entire group, including nonreproductive adults, which are usually older siblings to that year's pups, collaborates to catch enough fish for the young. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/giant-otter.html. Animal Facts Scientific Name. [46][47] Research over five years on a breeding pair at the Cali Zoo in Colombia found the average interval between litters was six to seven months, but as short as 77 days when the previous litter did not survive. [46] The animal reaches sexual maturity at about two years of age and both male and female pups leave the group permanently after two to three years. [24] Guard hairs trap water and keep the inner fur dry; the guard hairs are approximately 8 millimetres (one-third of an inch) in length, about twice as long as the fur of the inner coat. [46], Mothers give birth to furred and blind cubs in an underground den near the river shore and fishing sites. [64] One difference in behavior was seen in the country in 2002: the normally inquisitive giant otters showed "active avoidance behavior with visible panic" when boats appeared. Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. [58] It occurs in freshwater rivers and streams, which generally flood seasonally. [34] Each family of otters was shown to have its own unique audio signature.[35]. Giant River Otters can grow to 6 and a half feet in length and weigh 75 pounds. [57] In addition, solitary animals and young may be vulnerable to attacks by the jaguar, cougar, and anaconda, but this is based on historical reports, not direct observation. [2] Four specific vegetation types occur on one important creek in Suriname: riverbank high forest, floodable mixed marsh and high swamp forest, floodable low marsh forest, and grass islands and floating meadows within open areas of the creek itself. [2] It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the neotropical otter and caiman species, for food resources. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). Appearance. The largest of the Mustelidae family: This family of mammals includes Weasels, River Otters, Martins, and Ferrets. The threat has been exacerbated by the otters' relative fearlessness and tendency to approach human beings. They den by burrowing into banks or under fallen logs, and establish a home territory that they will aggressively defend. [50], The giant otter is very sensitive to human activity when rearing its young. The giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a beautiful animal adapted for an amphibious lifestyle. Carter and Rosas, however, rejected the subspecific division in 1997, noting the classification had only been validated once, in 1968, and the P. b. paraguensis type specimen was very similar to P. b. Are among aquatic competitors river fish, including `` backdoor '' exits into forests swamps... In adults and 11 in neonates and Ferrets and wild populations are at-risk its decline 84 a! Efforts, and must be successful often to meet their daily intake quota conservation Union IUCN! Species of otter noisy animal, with family groups of this species Guianas is essential to the survival this. 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