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N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Sun 26 Dec 2004

Otters at Sungei Buloh

Category : photos

Lim Liang Jim alerted me about photographs of an otter at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve in Club Snapshot taken by WK Cheah.

WK Cheah is a professional photographer, and has produced some breathtaking nature photographs in his time. You can enjoy a sample at his site. He photographed this Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale pespicillata) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve where he has also spotted the crocodile. Good luck or good hunting skills? I'd say both!

These photos were shot from a distance, using ISO800 but are already very useful in identification.

Notice the otter using its carnassial teeth along the side off its tooth row to cut and shear into the flesh of its prey, in this case, fish. This type of teeth is common amongst the carnivores. The long whiskers, or vibrissae, are highly developed, as they are in most predatory and nocturnal carnivores. The vibrissaee are deeply embedded in the otter's skull, and small holes can actually be observed in the skulls of museum specimens. In these photos, you can obsserve the whiskers on the cheek (genal), lips (mystacial) and above the eyes (supraorbitals).

The shape of the rhinarium or nose-pad can be made out in these photos and it is a diagnostic tool in identification of the four Southeast-asian species, which all bear different shapes. The obvious claws are also important as a contra-indication for the Small-clawed otter.

Posted at 10:14AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news