Hairy-nosed Otter Pictures, Stock Photos, Images, Illustrations

Top Left Solid Corner

Hairy-nosed Otter, Lutra sumatrana, Pictures, Stock Photos, Images and Illustrations

Top Right Solid Corner

The hairy-nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana, is the rarest Old World otter species, and one that is seldom observed or photographed. It has the least prominent nose of any otter, as its nose pad is covered in short fur, making the nose appear indistinct. This species has a distinctive muzzle and upper lip line, giving it a unique profile, and making it easy to identify if it could only be found.

Like all otters, the hairy-nosed otter is a member of the Mustelidae family, which includes badgers, weasels, mink and otters. It is native to Southeast Asia, and is believed to survive in small numbers in isolated areas of Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Hairy-nosed otters inhabit peat swamp forests and remote, high elevation streams. They may inhabit some coastal wetlands as well.

This species of otter is medium sized and has a length of 113 cm (44.5 inches) to 130 cm (51.2 inches) including the tail, and weighs between 7 kg (15.4 lbs) and 8.5 kg (18.7 lbs).

Hairy-nosed otters have webbed paws with strong claws. Their fur is gray brown to dark brown with a lighter colored underside. The lower jaw and upper lip are light in color and may be mottled. The nose is completely covered in short fur, and it has large, widely spaced nostrils. White vibrissae (whiskers) extend out from the muzzle and the eyebrow area.


Hairy-nosed Otter Picture
Picture of hairy-nosed otter, Lutra sumatrana Picture #:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Suborder: Caniformia/Canoidea

Family: Mustelidae/Mustelids

Subfamily: Lutrinae

Genus: Lutra

Specific: sumatrana

Species: Lutra sumatrana

>>> More Hairy-nosed Otter Pictures


In one report on an analysis of hairy-nosed otter spraint (droppings), this otter species was found to eat mainly fish and snakes, plus smaller quantities of frogs, lizards, crabs, small mammals, and insects (Kanchanasaka, 2005). This diet is similar to that of the more numerous smooth-coated otter, Lutrogale perspicillata, which also inhabits Southeast Asia, so the two otter species may be competitors for the same resources.

Tracks of the hairy-nosed otter look much like that of the Eurasian otter, Lutra lutra. The tracks are smaller than those of the smooth-coated otter, however, and less oval in shape. Spraint sites are generally mounds projecting out of swamps, exposed tree roots, tree trunks, and the trunks of fallen trees.

Little is known about the breeding and socializing habits of hairy-nosed otters. They are presumed to be solitary, as noisy, gregarious groups would make them easier to locate.

The IUCN lists hairy-nosed otters as Data Deficient. Otter researcher, Annette Olsson, however, is currently reviewing data on this otter for a possible change in the IUCN Red List classification to something more explicit. These otters are seldom seen or captured, and their population is unknown. They are most certainly threatened by habitat loss, reduction in prey, and hunting. On a positive note, they were once thought extinct, but evidence of live hairy-nosed otters has appeared in remote areas in recent years, so there is still a glimmer of hope for this species. Some environmentalists believe the chances of this otter's survival can best be enhanced by a captive breeding program.

There are several accounts on the web of a single male captive hairy-nosed otter named Dara that is kept in an enclosure at Phnom Tamau Zoological Garden and Rescue Centre, near Phnom Penh. Apparently, Dara was found by a fisherman on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and kept in a private zoo before being rescued. Funds for care of Dara are provided by Conservation International <> and the International Otter Survival Fund <>.

An interesting story from Indonesian folklore <> is told in one researcher's account on the discovery of a road kill hairy-nosed otter. Reza Lubis says that according to legend, otters possess a magical stone which enables them to swim swiftly underwater for long periods of time, and that they guard this stone jealously, but are prone to drop it from time to time. Possession of this stone by a human gives the person the same swimming ability. Lubis hints that this myth may have led to increased hunting of otters in a search for the magic stones. In Lubis's inspection of the dead otter, he found no such stone, needless to say.

Alternate names: Hairy-nosed Otter, Hairy Nosed Otter, Loutre de Sumatra, Nutria de Sumatra

© Hairy-nosed otter information assembled from on-line sources by Kevin Miler on Aug. 13, 2008 for