IUCN Red List status:


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Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

In the waters of the Amazon the giant otter is known as the ‘river wolf’ due to its large, razor sharp teeth and muscular body.

It is the biggest of all the otters mainly eating a diet of fish which it catches with expert skill as its wing-like tail and webbed feet allow it to move rapidly through the water. They can eat up to nine pounds of food per day!

Giant otters can also move quickly over land, often travelling several hundred metres to get one from area of water to another.

Also known as the South American otter, giant otters live in family groups of monogamous parents and their offspring.

They're the largest species of otter in the world, weighing up to 30kg!

Giant otters are threatened by human activity. Territory expansion, mining and hunting are some of the factors causing their numbers to decrease.

Logging and farming destroy giant otter breeding sites, and mining poisons the rivers where they live with mercury.

They are hunted for their water resistant fur and for their meat. Between 1950 – 1970, 20,000 otter pelts were exported from Peru alone. The trade in giant otter fur was banned in 1973, but they are still under threat.

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