The Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), often referred to as the river wolf, is a species in the Mustelid (weasel) family that is endemic to South America. [72] A number of restrictions on land use and human intrusion are required to properly maintain wild populations. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. Otters are carnivorous mammals that belong to the subfamily Lutrinae. Giant otters are the largest of any otter in the world growing up to 1.8m. [69] The animal's relatively late sexual maturity and complex social life makes hunting especially disastrous.[13][70][71]. The Giant River Otter(Pteronura brasiliensis), often referred to as the river wolf, is a species in the Mustelid (weasel) family that is endemic to South America. In other otter species, vision is generally normal or slightly myopic, both on land and in water. 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. Main image: A giant otter in Mato Grosso (Brazil). The 13 species range in adult size from 0.6 to 1.8 m (2.0 to 5.9 ft) in length and 1 to 45 kg (2.2 to 99.2 lb) in weight. They appear in a fish poisoning legend where they assist a man who has wasted his sexual energy, creating the anacondas of the world from his distressed and extended genitals. The species was listed as endangered in 1999 and wild population estimates are typically below 5,000. © Sergio Pitamitz/Getty. 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. Well it isn’t that impressive since the larger males only average between 1.5 m and 1. It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the sea otter may be heavier. Defence against intruding animals appears to be cooperative: while adult males typically lead in aggressive encounters, cases of alpha females guarding groups have been reported. Already have an account with us? The Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis (Zimmermann, 1780) is endemic to South America, distributed throughout the Orinoco, Amazon and La Plata River basins and numerous localities in the Guyanas. [24] The fur is extremely dense, so much so that water cannot penetrate to the skin. In Brazil it is known as ariranha, from the Tupí word ari'raña, meaning water jaguar (Portuguese: onça d'água). The otter has a lithe and slender body with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flattened tail that helps propel the animal gracefully through water. The species is territorial, with groups marking their ranges with latrines, gland secretions, and vocalizations. The giant otter is a member of the weasel family, Mustelidae, in the Mammalian Order of Carnivora. [10]The genus name, Pteronura, is derived from the Ancient Greek words pteron/πτερόν (feather or wing) and oura/οὐρά (tail),[11] a reference to its distinctive, wing-like tail. Most have sharp claws on their feet and all except the sea otter have long, muscular tails. The giant otter is the largest and the second heaviest (the sea otter is the heaviest) of the Mustelidae or weasel family. The giant otter shows a variety of adaptations suitable to an amphibious lifestyle, including exceptionally dense fur, a wing-like tail, and webbed feet. The threat has been exacerbated by the otters' relative fearlessness and tendency to approach human beings. ... Otters rarely attack humans, but can be territorial ... That's a lot of killing power for an animal the size of a salad bowl. [23] Other species that prey upon similar food resources include the caimans and large fish that are themselves piscivores. [43][44] Within groups, the animals are extremely peaceful and cooperative. [56], The species can hunt singly, in pairs, and in groups, relying on sharp eyesight to locate prey. Giant otter muzzles are short and sloping and give the head a ball-shaped appearance. [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. [69] While still present in a number of north-central countries, giant otter populations are under considerable stress. All otters produce vocalizations, but by frequency and volume, the giant otter may be the most vocal. ... Otters rarely attack humans, but can be territorial ... That's a lot of killing power for an animal the size of a salad bowl. [72] Duplaix relates the story of an Arawak Indian who took two pups from their parents. Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. Giant otters catch their own food and consume it immediately; they grasp the fish firmly between the forepaws and begin eating noisily at the head. [37] The species has likely been extirpated from southern Brazil, but in the west of the country, decreased hunting pressure in the critical Pantanal has led to very successful recolonization; an estimate suggests 1,000 or more animals in the region. Pretty cool, pretty terrifying. [1] P. b. brasiliensis is distributed across the north of the giant otter range, including the Orinoco, Amazon, and Guianas river systems; to the south, P. b. paraguensis has been suggested in Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina,[13] although it may be extinct in the last three of these four. [67] Its smaller prey, different denning habits, and different preferred water types also reduce interaction.[58]. The giant otter is clearly distinguished from other otters by morphological and behavioral characteristics. Many people find this particular Otter to be different in size and shape from others. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). The giant otter ranges across north-central South America; it lives mostly in and along the Amazon River and in the Pantanal. They are part of the otter subfamily Lutrinae, which are part of the Mustelidae family. [64] Pups are more vulnerable, and may be taken by caiman and other large predators,[51] although adults are constantly mindful of stray young, and will harass and fight off possible predators. [41], Aggression within the species ("intraspecific" conflict) has been documented. Otter family attack two teenage boys swimming in California lake. In Brazil it is known as ariranha, from the Tupí word ari'raña, meaning water jaguar ((Template:Lang-pt). The species is threatened by habitat contamination and degradation, overfishing of their prey and conflicts with fishermen, infrastructure such as roads and hydroelectric dams, and climate change. The giant otter has a handful of other names. [51] This sensitivity is matched by a strong protectiveness towards the young. Thanks! In Cantão State Park, otters dig their reproductive dens on the shores of oxbow lakes starting around July, when waters are already quite low. Giant otters are mammals related to the weasel family. The spatial overlap of giant otters with human fishing sites is the most likely explanation for the positive association between these two variables and may account for the conflicts between this species and human activities that were observed in other areas (Gómez and Jorgenson, 1999, Recharte et al., 2008, Rosas-Ribeiro et al., 2012). Average group size in Manu is about 6, with the largest consisting of 14 members, in Cocha Salvador. [16], An extinct genus, Satherium, is believed to be ancestral to the present species, having migrated to the New World during the Pliocene or early Pleistocene. These otters are able to swim 330 feet (100 meters) in less than 30 seconds. [16] The ears are small and rounded. A study of five indigenous communities in Colombia suggests native attitudes toward the animal are a threat: the otters are often viewed as a nuisance that interferes with fishing, and are sometimes killed. [24][30], The species possesses 2n = 38 chromosomes.[31]. The giant otter is clearly distinguished from other otters by morphological and behavioral characteristics. Two of them were gigantic: Sivaonyx hendeyi was an otter the size of a wolf (around 40 kg) and Plesiogulo aff. 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. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. Weights are between 26 and 32 kg (57 and 71 lb) for males and 22 and 26 kg (49 and 57 lb) for females. [59] Otters do not visit or mark every site daily, but usually patrol all of them, often by a pair of otters in the morning. The giant otter or giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal.It is the longest member of the weasel family Mustelidae, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft). The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) is one of the world’s leading otter charities. [24] Giant otters use these marks to recognize one another, and upon meeting other otters, they engage in a behavior known as "periscoping", displaying their throats and upper chests to each other. The co-expansion of otter and human populations accounts for most encounters gone wrong. [72] Specific threats from human industry include unsustainable mahogany logging in parts of the giant otter range,[69] and concentrations of mercury in its diet of fish, a byproduct of gold mining. [12] Both species also show strong pair bonding and paternal engagement in rearing cubs. Schoolchildren, however, had a more positive impression of the animal. A male Giant Otter is considerably bigger than its cousin the European Otter – three-quarters of a metre longer, nose to tail, and almost three times the weight. 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. The full extent of these human threats on giant otters are’nt well understood yet. A family comes out of their home for an afternoon activity. The Otter size isn't twice as big, they'd be 68lbs to the 45lbs of the Cougar but again, you're going off of 3 specimen only which is a very small sample size and I don't know if one was an outlier or not. One full-year study of giant otter scats in Amazonian Brazil found fish present in all fecal samples. (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the sea otter may be heavier. The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) of Asia may be its closest extant relative; similar behaviour, vocalizations, and skull morphology have been noted. The otter can attack from both above and below, swiveling at the last instant to clamp the prey in its jaws. The giant otter seems to have evolved independently of Lontra in South America, despite the overlap. Expert fishers: Giant Otters feast on several species of Amazonian catfish and Characins. Jaguars, which inhabit the same territory as Giant Otters, are only slightly longer but they are much heavier. The giant otter is the largest and the second heaviest (the sea otter is the heaviest) of the Mustelidae or weasel family. Just so you know, the giant otter … This does make them the longest otter species but the Sea Otter still wins for the heaviest species. Otters are generally considered to be small and fluffy animals, but there are 11 other species of otter. Giant otters are 5.6 feet. 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