Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Lontra longicaudis

Neotropical Otter

Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae

Image of Lontra longicaudis
Click to enlarge. (387 kb)

Conservation Status: Data Deficient.

Neotropical Otters are diurnal where they are not hunted for their fur, but have learned to stay out of sight by day and hunt by night where necessary. They mainly eat fish, consuming small fish in the water and hauling big ones to land. They also eat crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates, as well as the occasional bird or small mammal. They prefer fast-moving forest streams or rivers, and are sleek and graceful in the water, with webbed toes on all four feet. They den in burrows on the banks, using underwater or surface entrances. Neotropical Otters are usually solitary and quiet, but can communicate using a variety of whistles, hums and screeches. They also scent-mark. Females usually have litters of two or three. The newborns are blind, but fully furred. Their eyes open when they are 44 days old, and they start playing in water about a month later.

Range: Head and Body: 564-800 mm; Tail: 370-475 mm

Range: 5-9.5 kg


Olfers, 1818. In Eschwege, W.L., Journal von Brasilien, in F.J. Bertuch. Neue Bibliothek, 15(2):233.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Lontra longicaudis