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Otters: Agile Aquatic Hunters

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Kariega Otter 2.JPG

With short legs, a long body, webbed hind feet and a strong thick tail for swimming, otters are one of the few mammal species that hunt in the water for their meals. Our photo of the week is of Cape clawless otters taken by ranger Jone.

Kariega Otter

Eight Interesting Facts About Otters

  1. They live in freshwater and salt water, including estuaries and lagoons.
  2. Otters feed on crabs, mussels, fish and insects. They will also catch and eat birds, rodents, reptiles. 
  3. They make dens in dense vegetation, under rocks or in burrows close to water.
  4. Their whiskers detect the vibrations of their prey underwater, which helps them hunt.
  5. Otters have strong jaws and they use these to crush crabs.
  6. Field signs that show otters are active in an area include faeces containing crab shell pieces. Otters faeces are called spraints.
  7. Otters use midden sites like rhinos (and many other animals). Middens are areas where animals mark their territories with their dung and urine.
  8. If otters are present in water systems this tells us that the water source is healthy.

Did you see any otters on your safari or boat cruise on the Kariega or Bushman's River when staying at Kariega Game Reserve? If so, please share your story in the comments below or on our Facebook page, via Twitter and Instagram. You can also upload a video on YouTube and add Kariega Game Reserve in the title.