GIANT RIVER OTTER
Measuring up to 1.5m in length, the giant river otter is the largest member of the mustelid family. A powerful swimmer with webbed toes and a flattened tail for propulsion, it can often be seen writhing through the shallows of Amazonian backwaters and ox-bow lakes, hunting for fish, freshwater crustaceans and other prey. Giant otters typically form extended family groups of up to 10 individuals. They are highly social animals, travelling, feeding, playing and sleeping together. Well-hidden dens are excavated in riverbanks.
Spotting tip: On boat trips, look out for the sudden splash and ‘flick’ of a tail from a diving otter. You may hear this highly vocal species before you see it – barks, snorts and whistles are just some of their characteristic calls. A good sighting should reveal distinctive cream spots and patches on the chin, throat and chest.