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Mammals of Southern Africa

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A Guide to the: Cape Clawless Otter - Aonyx capensis

As its name suggests, the Cape Clawless Otter is clawless, which immediately distinguishes it from the spotted- necked otter. When they are in play, they chase one another and indulge in mock fights: they also play with sticks and stones. They use smooth rocks as water slides into a pool and generally frolic about in the water. On land they enjoy sunbathing and sprawl flat on their backs. Cape clawless otters are mostly active during the day and although they are fond of water, they spend more time out of it than the spotted-necked otter does, wandering in search of new feeding grounds. They have a taste for crabs and frogs, and less commonly eat fish. The shells of the crabs are crushed with the strong cheek teeth and everything is eaten. They also eat birds, bird's eggs and insects. The otter's den is known as a 'holt'. Two to five young are born: they mature quickly and are soon taught to swim by their parents. These otters are very good swimmers even though their feet are only slightly webbed, and the long tail is used to propel the otter forward.

More facts about Cape Clawless Otters

Kruger National Park
Tsitsikamma National Park

Learn more about the mammal species of Southern Africa with Wildlife Campus. This includes in-depth information about habitat, spoor, droppings, ecology...

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