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Aonyx cinerea


Aonyx cinerea (Illiger, 1815)

Family Name: Mustelidae
Taxonomic Group: Vertebrates (Mammal)
Common Name: Oriental Small-clawed Otter


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Taxonomic Group 2
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Common Names


Description Upperparts dark brown or greyish brown, underparts slightly paler. Digits are partially webbed. Claws are short and do not extend beyond the end of the digits. Body relatively long and sleek with short limbs.

Ecology, Habitat & Location

Ecological Notes In Singapore, occurs mainly in mangroves and mudflats in family groups. Active both day and night. Diet includes crabs, and other crustaceans and molluscs.
Habitats Mangroves, Mudflats, Terrestrial
Distribution In Singapore, presently recorded from the mangrove-fringed western and northern coast of Singapore island from the Western Catchment Area, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji, Pulau Ubin and PulauTekong. Also recorded from the reservoirs within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve but these may be zoo escapees. Distributed from India and south China to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Palawan.
Nature Reserves Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Nature Areas Pulau Ubin


Trends & Threats Habitat loss, human disturbance and persecution.
Scientific Interest & Potential Value An interesting, although rarely seen, tourist attraction. Sometimes trapped and kept as pets. 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], Endangered (E) [1994]




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

Ng, P.K.L. & Wee, Y.C. (Eds.). 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book (1st Edition). Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore). 343pp


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Species record last updated on: 24 November 2023.