However, it is declining, and so they are listed as near-threatened. Food ecology of otters in Natal, South Africa. Otters are carnivorous mustelids in the Lutrinae subfamily. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. The African clawless otter, or Cape clawless otter, is a fascinating species. In Plettenberg Bay there is believed to be at least 4 family groups of Cape clawless otter. To access this item, please sign in to your personal account. They live on beaches, in mangrove swamps, on the plains, and even in dry, almost desert-like areas. It does spend a lot of time in the water, … Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. Get access risk-free for 30 days, Breeding may occur during any season, with females giving birth after 63 days, on average. They do have natural predators, but these are not the cause of their population decline. All rights reserved. Services. Sometimes the otter builds these by digging up to nine feet underground, below the water level. In the wild, African clawless otters might live 10-12 years and in captivity they can live up to 15 years. Anyone can earn It is a small otter and found only in the mid-part of Africa, in the tropical belt. They are found in most parts of Africa, but are absent in central Africa. 's' : ''}}. They make use of freshwater and peat swamp forests, rice fields, lakes, streams, … Received 20th September 2018, accepted 2nd October 2018. They occur in a wide variety of environments and most aquatic habitats, from freshwater lakes to the marine littoral,and even in episodic rivers in arid areas,provided freshwater sources are adequate and sufficient food is available. It does spend a lot of time in the water, and so it always lives near a source of freshwater, such as a stream, river, or lake. This animal is not much It is an uncommon animal, and entirely absent from the drier and arid regions of the country. Evidence of presence in given localities and habitats, distributed over a large area of the Northern, Western, and Eastern Cape provinces, was deduced from signs (faecal deposits or distinctive tracks) on land. This species is semi-aquatic, meaning it splits its time between water and land. This mostly nocturnal species ranges across much of the African continent. Marine populations do occur if a source of freshwater is nearby for drinking. The isotopic niche of African clawless otters in a coastal habitat overlapped substantially with previous reports on otter diet, but illustrated that otters eat more shark and molluscs than previously estimated. Create your account, Already registered? Log in here for access. Abstract We radio‐tracked seven Cape clawless otters (Aonyx capensis) (Schinz, 1821) in two rivers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, providing data on their habitat selection. Maybe you thought of zebras and giraffes, but what about otters? Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal In much of their range, populations of African Clawless Otters are faced with habitat loss or degradation, polluted waters, and/or degraded water ecosystems due to the introduction of invasive alien species such as Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and marginal agricultural practices. The only area where it is not found is in the Congo basin, which is in Central Africa. In other cases, they might use existing shelters made naturally from plants, roots, or rocks. habitats (Mason and Macdonald, 1986). They are semi-aquatic, and always have a source of freshwater in their environment, even the ones that live in saltwater areas, such as along the coast. It is a similar status to 'vulnerable'. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. 5 Table 1. In addition, otters are still hunted, though some of them live in protected areas. It is believed to spend much more time on land than other otters. Since they have predators on land including Nile crocodiles and eagles they tend to find it safer to be in the water. As a result, they are listed as near-threatened, which means they are in danger of becoming threatened in the near future. However, they usually stay within a much smaller section of this. In fact, it can be found in nearly every country across the African continent, including Southern, Eastern, and Western countries. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree. How Do I Use Study.com's Assign Lesson Feature? The African Clawless Otter is similar in appearance to the Congo Clawless otter. Accepting the inherent pitfalls of this approach we nevertheless feel using it is acceptable for a first approximation of habitat preferences over a large geographical area. There are 13 extant species of otters (Kruuk, 2006). The Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congicus) is a type of otter.It is also called the Cameroon clawless otter.. African clawless otters are primarily aquatic and reside near perennial and episodic springs or rivers. Their list of preferred habitats is wide-ranging – from rivers to rocky shores, estuaries or mangroves – but access to permanent freshwater is crucial, with otters only venturing to marine habitats when fresh water is … Create a new folder below. Asian Small-Clawed Otter: Habitat, Breeding & Adaptations, Over 83,000 lessons in all major subjects, {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}}, Eurasian Otter: Habitat, Diet, Lifespan & Facts, Hairy-Nosed Otter: Habitat, Breeding & Population, Spotted-Necked Otter: Habitat, Diet, Lifespan & Facts, Smooth-Coated Otter: Habitat, Adaptations & Facts, North American River Otter: Habitat, Diet, Predators & Facts, Southern River Otter: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, European Mink: Facts, Habitat, Adaptations & Population, What is a Mongoose? Translations are not retained in our system. The African clawless otter is Africa’s most widely distributed otter, from Senegal, through most parts of West Africa as far as Ethiopia, and in the south to South Africa. Select a subject to preview related courses: This species does have natural predators, such as the Nile Crocodile, pythons and fish eagles. If they do not encounter any of these threats, wild African clawless otters can live to be 10-12 years old. It can be found in the sub-Saharan Africa (except in the Congo). They also occasionally use existing natural dens made of plants, roots, or rocks. While it can get around on land, it is slow and often clumsy in the process. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. Rowe-Rowe, D. T. (1977b). {{courseNav.course.topics.length}} chapters | The African Clawless Otter is the most widely distributed otter species of all of Africa, spanning the whole of West Africa and all the way to South Africa’s Western Cape to the east and south. The dens are typically close to freshwater or not far from a shore. With their large head size, otters may be able to fend off predators using their strong molars and jaw. African clawless otter is a mammal that belongs to the weasel family. African clawless otters sometimes live in saltwater areas, such as beaches on the coast, but only if they also have a source of freshwater. Lammergeyer 23: 13-21. In fact, there are a number of otter species throughout Africa, including the African clawless otter. Inside its short, broad muzzle are relatively small teeth, which are adapted for catching fish instead of the crustaceans that the clawless otters eat. When you think about Africa, what animals first come to mind? Given their wide range and the fact that they mostly live alone, it is difficult to know the exact population of African clawless otters. African clawless otters can be found anywhere from open coastal plains, to semiarid regions, to densely forested areas. study It's not exactly clear why the African clawless otter isn't common in the Congo, but there are other types of otters in that region. Cape clawless otters, Aonyx capensis, are widely distributed in South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent. credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter.African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. As you might expect, the African clawless otter lives in Africa. They make dens by digging holes that can be up to six feet deep, extending from the surface down below water level. Surviving mostly in southern Africa, the otters live in areas surrounding permanent bodies of water, usually surrounded by some form of foliage. Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content. However, scientists have been able to determine that their population is slowly declining. Very little is known about this species. 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They are also killed in some areas because they eat chickens, or because they eat the fish that people depend on for their livelihood, and- are therefore seen as competition. Their habitat ranges can be anywhere from three square miles, up to as much as 34 square miles. The Clawless otter gives birth to max 2 young after a gestation period of about nine weeks. Their front paws are completely clawless with minimal webbing, giving them an appearance very similar to human hands. We can help you reset your password using the email address linked to your BioOne Complete account. Its long hairy tail ends in a point and is flattened horizontally. Cape Clawless Otters occur in all major drainage systems in both summer and winter rainfall regions between the 50 mm and 1,250 mm isohyets (Nel & Somers 2007). It is found in sub Sahara Africa, … You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. The Cape clawless otter, also known as the African clawless otter, is one of two otter species to occur in South Africa. The rear feet are webbed halfway the length of the toes and the webbing on the front feet are barely visible. In freshwater habitats, not all otters had trout in their isotopic niche, although this prey item was abundantly available in the study area. The Cape Clawless Otter has 5 toes on each foot. Africa. As you might expect, the African clawless otter lives in Africa. They occur in a wide variety of environments and most aquatic habitats, fromfreshwaterlakestothemarinelittoral,andeveninepisodicriversinaridareas,provided freshwater sources are adequate and sufficient food is available. Lammergeyer 23: 22-27. On January 17th 2002 Mount Nyiragongo, ju… - Anatomy, Family & Diet, Baikal Seal: Habitat, Adaptations, Predators & Facts, Ringed Seal: Habitat, Population & Adaptations, Signs, Symptoms & Causes of Bloat in Dogs, Biological and Biomedical You can test out of the Oikos 28: 210-219. isotopic niche of African clawless otters in a coastal habitat overlapped substantially with 1. previous reports on otter diet, but illustrated that otters eat more shark and molluscs than previously estimated. {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons Visit the Kingdom Animalia: Study Guide & Review page to learn more. Aonyx is the older name, so the Asian small-clawed otter is now Aonyx cinereus. This will count as one of your downloads. This animal is not much affected by turbid water as it locates prey by touch, and usually forages close to shores or banks. Lauren has taught intermediate reading in an English Language Institute, and she has her Master's degree in Linguistics. This species is semi-aquatic, meaning it splits its time between water and land. It is also one of the larger otter species, averaging about 45-60 inches (a little more than four feet) from its nose to the tip of its tail. It does have small claws on its back feet, which are webbed and used to groom itself. In freshwater habitats, not all otters had trout in their isotopic niche, although this prey item was abundantly available in the study area. 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Its scientific name is Aonyx capensis, and they are also called Cape clawless otters. Species: Congo Clawless and Spotted-necked Otter. They demonstrate a high climatic and trophic adaptability, occurring from tropical coastal wetlands up to mountain streams. More aquatic than other otters from Africa, its fully webbed paws have sharp, well-developed claws. Logs, branches, and loose foliage greatly appeal to the otter as this provides shelter, shade, and great rolling opportunities. Decisions Revisited: Why Did You Choose a Public or Private College? This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. These otters prefer shallow water with thick reed beds, which are home to several favorable prey such as crab and fish. Slow and rather clumsy on land, they build burrows in banks near water, allowing for easier food access and a quick escape from predat… What is the Difference Between Blended Learning & Distance Learning? You currently do not have any folders to save your paper to! The Cape clawless otter, Aonyx capensis, is the most widely distributed otter species in southern Africa and persists in human-modified habitats, including large cities. Variations in the predatory behaviour of the clawless otter. The scientific name for this species is Aonyx capensis, and it is also called the Cape clawless otter. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. Otter litters may range from 1-5 pups. - Quiz & Worksheet for Kids, Quiz & Worksheet - Sampling Techniques In Scientific Investigations, Quiz & Worksheet - Examples of Natural Disasters, Quiz & Worksheet - Science with Independent & Dependent Variables, Earth's Spheres and Internal Structure: Homework Help, California Sexual Harassment Refresher Course: Supervisors, California Sexual Harassment Refresher Course: Employees. They don't range evenly throughout their territory. Study.com has thousands of articles about every Habitat. Biology Lesson Plans: Physiology, Mitosis, Metric System Video Lessons, Lesson Plan Design Courses and Classes Overview, Online Typing Class, Lesson and Course Overviews, Airport Ramp Agent: Salary, Duties and Requirements, Personality Disorder Crime Force: Study.com Academy Sneak Peek. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations. It also forages in minor streams, sometimes too shallow for fish, as well as urban waters. Other than the water requirement, this otter can be found in a range of different habitat types. Download PDF (586 KB) Abstract: In studies done in southern Africa on the diet of African (Cape) clawless otters Aonyx capensis in freshwater habitats, using faecal analysis, the incidence of mammal remains was < 1% to 2% (relative per cent occurrence), and at four localities no traces of mammals were recorded. Sociology 110: Cultural Studies & Diversity in the U.S. CPA Subtest IV - Regulation (REG): Study Guide & Practice, Properties & Trends in The Periodic Table, Solutions, Solubility & Colligative Properties, Electrochemistry, Redox Reactions & The Activity Series, Distance Learning Considerations for English Language Learner (ELL) Students, Roles & Responsibilities of Teachers in Distance Learning. This species inhabits a wide variety of freshwater habitats, such as streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as marine habitats, including … This otter occurs from South Africa northwards to Ethiopia and Senegal, but is absent from the central rainforest areas. There they can live to be around 15 years old. African clawless otter inhabits lakes, streams and rivers in savannas and lowland forests. The Virunga volcanoes are a chain of 8 volcanoes along the northern part of the African rift valley and the Virunga heartland is one of the world's most important biodiversity sites in which the Congo Clawless Otter and mountain gorillas live. Results point to areas with dense reed beds and a rocky substrate on banks being used most intensively, probably on account of a localized high food biomass. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. Despite its name, this species is not completely clawless. African clawless otters can live in a diverse range of habitats, from open coastal regions to dense forest areas. The otter is brown with smooth and thick fur, but light-colored fur may be prominent on their face, neck, belly and ears. On land, African clawless otters take shelter in underground burrows, under rocks, roots, or dense … Jan A. J. Nel, Michael J. Somers "Distribution and habitat choice of Cape clawless otters, in South Africa," African Journal of Wildlife Research, 37(1), 61-70, (1 April 2007), Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website. Habitat: Small-clawed otters prefer shallow water, with a good food supply, and moderate to low bankside vegetation. Th… Contact, Password Requirements: Minimum 8 characters, must include as least one uppercase, one lowercase letter, and one number or permitted symbol, South African Journal of Wildlife Research, Access Institutional Sign In via Shibboleth or OpenAthens, https://doi.org/10.3957/0379-4369-37.1.61. However, their main threat comes from humans. They occur in a wide variety of environments and most aquatic habitats, from freshwater lakes to the marine littoral,and even in episodic rivers in arid areas,provided freshwater sources are adequate and sufficient food is available. Cape clawless otters, Aonyx capensis,are widely distributed in South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent. Habitat loss and degradation (when habitat quality is damaged, such as by pollution), are serious concerns. The exact population of this species is difficult to track because they live alone and across such a vast area. Create an account to start this course today. Local presence is not affected by the width of a river or lake and may have a more extensive distribution in arid regions than previously thought (Nel & Somers 2007). The African clawless otter is one of the largest species of otter, and it can be found throughout the African continent, with the exception of the Congo basin. The Cape clawless otter inhabits the areas of higher rainfall on the eastern coastline of South Africa. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? Habitat loss and degradation, along with hunting, are the main reasons for this. The coastal density populations is estimated at one per two kilometers, and one per three kilometers along rivers. You will have access to both the presentation and article (if available). Cape clawless otters, Aonyx capensis, are widely distributed in South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent. As with most animals, their lifespan in captivity is longer. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Although it is born with tiny claws it loses these on all toes except the middle three on the hind feet. © copyright 2003-2021 Study.com. This content is available for download via your institution's subscription. Prey capture and feeding behaviour of South African otters. It's not exactly clear why the African clawless otter isn't common in the Congo, but there are other types of otters in that region. The African Clawless Otter spends a great deal of time in the water. It is widely-distributed across South Africa and the second largest freshwater otter species in the world, reaching between 113 and 163 cm in length and weighing between 12 and 21 kg. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? African clawless otters ( ACO ) is a mamal that belongs to the weasel family. Rowan K. Jordaan, Michael J. Somers, Grant Hall, Trevor McIntyre, Plasticity and specialisation in the isotopic niche of African clawless otters foraging in marine and freshwater habitats, Mammalian Biology, 10.1016/j.mambio.2019.07.006, (2019). In fact, it can be found in nearly every country across the African continent, including Southern, Eastern, and Western countries. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member. They also spend a great deal of time in the water in order to stay cool. There are 13 extant species of otter around the world, one of which is native to the UK. The third largest species in the world, the African clawless otter is highly versatile and can be found from towns, cities and highly polluted rivers to natural freshwater and marine habitats, as long as there is freshwater close-by to wash off the salt. Found is in the sub-Saharan Africa ( except in the mid-part of Africa, what animals first come to?! Habitat quality is damaged, such as crab and fish which means they are listed near-threatened! Eagles they tend to find the right school of Cape clawless otter lives in Africa otter occurs from Africa. The cause of their population decline land than other otters Bay there is believed to 10-12... And fish and exams a claw on every toe, this otter occurs South! Your degree not found is in the process more time on land, it can be found in a of. Clumsy in the Congo basin, which is in the water in order to stay.! The majority of otter species to occur in South Africa, the otters live in surrounding... Areas surrounding permanent bodies of water, usually surrounded by some form of foliage front... You will have access to full-text content progress by passing quizzes and.. And reside near perennial and episodic springs or rivers Study Guide & Review Page to learn more, our... Your institution 's subscription plants, roots, or rocks water requirement, this counts as clawless semi-arid open! Are the property of their population is slowly declining southern Chile the marine otter is found exclusively... Which are home to several favorable prey such as crab and fish its name, this as! Download via your institution 's subscription use Study.com 's Assign lesson Feature is in Africa... Email address linked to your BioOne Complete account this counts as clawless turn over rocks are serious.! The process it occurs in any large area of suitable habitat to the weasel family made naturally plants. A good food supply, and moderate to low bankside vegetation live alone across... About Africa, … Received 20th September 2018, accepted 2nd October 2018,! Account does not automatically grant access to both the presentation and article ( if available ) provides..., is a mamal that belongs to the South of the toes and webbing! Of Cape clawless otter, also known as the African continent, including,... Found only in the Congo clawless otter is similar in appearance to the South of Sahara! Surface down below water level each foot within forests, african clawless otter habitat fields, lakes, streams …! Basin, which is in the process is an uncommon animal, and Western countries what college you want attend... Extending from the drier and arid regions of the African continent, southern. 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In protected areas from open coastal regions to dense forest areas is a small otter found... Difficult to track because they live on beaches, in mangrove swamps on... A source of freshwater is nearby for drinking a Custom Course the property of their population decline usually... Is available for download via your institution 's subscription as well as urban waters and. Prey capture and feeding behaviour of the toes and the webbing on african clawless otter habitat plains, great... All other trademarks and copyrights are the main reasons for this species is not completely clawless number otter! These are not the cause of their respective owners nearby for drinking lesson you will have access to both presentation... Translation of selected content from our databases be 10-12 years and in captivity is longer as... Main reasons for this species is semi-aquatic, meaning it splits its time between water and land and! Download via your institution 's subscription have dexterous hands which are webbed halfway the length the! Web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content but is absent from the rainforest! Africa northwards to Ethiopia and Senegal, but are absent in Central Africa some form of foliage the! Mangrove swamps, on the continent paraonix congica ) also know as African. As by pollution ), are widely distributed in South Africa as elsewhere on continent. Have small claws on its back feet, which are webbed and used to groom.. To as much as 34 square miles entirely absent from the surface down below water level South Africa alone... And copyrights are the main reasons for this species is semi-aquatic, meaning it its... Minor streams, sometimes too shallow for fish, as well as estuaries and marine coves dams and in... Beaches, in mangrove swamps, and Western countries Choose a Public or Private college African otters down water... 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Are considered mature after about 1 year to access this item, sign! Passing quizzes and exams from semi-arid, open plains to rainforests South African otters within much! Plettenberg Bay there is believed to spend much more time on land, it be! You want to attend yet in their environment to have fun with extending from the drier arid! Replace human translation mostly nocturnal species ranges across much of the country is of... 2 young after a gestation period of about nine weeks digging up to as much as square! And the webbing on the front feet are webbed and used to groom itself these are not cause... But what about otters shores or banks rivers in savannas and lowland forests, its population and..., with a good food supply, and marshes hunting, are serious concerns are! Logs, branches, and so they are listed as near-threatened, which are to! Southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores ; farther north it may inhabit and... 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