Spotted Necked Otter

Scientific Name
Lutra maculicollis

Common Names


Close Relatives

The Spotted-neck Otter is an average of a metre in length, including the tail. It can grow to as long as 117 cms. The throat of the Spotted-neck Otter is a light tan colour, mottled with brown spots, hence the name Spotted-neck Otter. The males weigh around 4 to 5 kgs, and the females around 3.5 to 4 kgs. The rest of their body is a deep red-brown or brown colour. They have soft fur which they have unfortunately been hunted for in the past. The otter’s claws are short but very powerful.

They inhabit large rivers or lakes, as they are a large animal and need the space to roam. They avoid turbulent waters, or smaller spaces of water. They feed mostly on fish, but will feed on other aquatic creatures as crustaceans or frogs. They do not catch fish using their claws as some reports state, they primarily catch (and consume) fish with their mouth. They also consume their fish whilst in the water rather than on land.

The Spotted-neck Otter is currently (2003) listed as a vulnerable species. The major predators of the otter are the crocodile, or on land it can be taken by large pythons, eagles or man.

They spend the majority of their time in the water. When on land they are affected by the sun as their body temperature raises quickly. They also have very little agility on the land.

Male and female otters do not spend time together, other than mating. After breeding occurs, cubs can swim after 8 weeks. They are weaned at 12-16 weeks of age. They have been known to stay with their mother for up to a year. Male otters will often return and provide food for the cubs.