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Mammals of Southern Africa

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A Guide to the: Spotted-Necked Otter - Lutra maculicollis

The Spotted-Necked Otter, with its slender and streamlined body, webbed feet, and long tapering tail, is totally adapted to its watery habitat. Their short, sharp claws are useful for catching fish, which they eat from the tail first, sometimes discarding the heads. They may continue to catch fish after they are satiated, and simply play with them. They also enjoy eating crabs and frogs, but, unlike the Cape Clawless Otter, fish form the major part of their diet. Their name derives from the distinctive spots or mottling on their neck and upper chest. In the water the otter's enemy is the crocodile; on land its major enemies are the python, and man, due to the demand for its dense, soft fur.

The Spotted-Necked Otter seldom strays far from water; when on land it is both clumsy and suffers from heat. It does emerge from the water to urinate, and to relax, bask and groom on nearby rocks. Their shelters ('holts') and breeding places are near water. The spotted-necked otter is usually seen alone or as mother with two young, although they can occur in groups of up to six. The best time to see Spotted-Necked Otters is early in the morning or at twilight, when they tend to be most active. The male is much heavier and more muscular than the female. Occasionally three, although more usually two, young are born, characteristically either in holes in river banks or in rocky crevices.

More facts about Spotted-Necked Otters

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