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Lutrogale perspicillata


Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826)

Family Name: Mustelidae
Synonyms: Lutra, perspicillata, [blank]
Taxonomic Group: Vertebrates (Mammal)
Common Name: Smooth Otter, Smooth-coated Otter

Otters can be spotted quite regularly in groups of two to more than 10 in our mangroves, mudflats, and other coastal areas. Cute as they may be, otters smell quite pungent, particularly near where they leave their spraints (otter defecation) to mark their territory on land. If you spot otters, do not touch, chase, or corner them, as this may frighten them. Instead, watch them from afar.


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Species Summary


Description Upperparts brown, underparts buffy. Throat and sides of neck creamy in colour. Long body and tail covered in short, sleek fur. Tail is flattened. Digits fully webbed, claws prominent.

Ecology, Habitat & Location

Ecological Notes In Singapore, occurs in coastal habitats, largely in mangroves and mudflats. Associates mainly in pairs or small families. Active during day and night. Feeds mainly on fish.
Distribution Most regularly seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Pulau Ubin. Also reported from the Western Catchment Area and Changi. Distributed from Pakistan, with an isolated population in south Iraq, across India, south China and Indochina, down the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
Nature Reserves Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Nature Areas Pulau Ubin


Trends & Threats Habitat loss and human disturbance and possible persecution.
Scientific Interest & Potential Value An interesting tourist attraction at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Pulau Ubin. In India, pups are sometimes caught and trained to assist fishermen. Some fish farmers may view it as a pest.
Conservation Notes Habitat protection and stringent policing against poaching. The local population may not be strictly resident for individuals can easily travel between either shores of the Johor Straits.


Species Status Native
Conservation Status Rare
Singapore Red Data Book Status Critically Endangered (CR) [2008]




References Baker, N. & Lim, K. 2008. Wild animals of Singapore. Singapore: Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd. 180pp

Davison, G.W.H., Ng, P.K.L. & Ho, H.C (Eds.). 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book (2nd Edition). Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore). 285pp


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Species record last updated on: 21 August 2019.