Home . Sitemap
Asian Small-Clawed Otter
  • Characteristics
  • Distribution
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Conservation
  • Asian Small-Clawed Otter : Lifestyle

    Aonyx Cinerea

    Family comes first!

    The short-claw is one of the few otter species that is social and not solitary in its habits. They reach sexual maturity at two years, but don't usually breed until they are three years old. Couples will usually mate for life, with the female being the dominant partner. The gestation period for this otter is 60-64 days, resulting in the birth of usually 1-2 cubs (though sometimes up to 7 cubs!). They can have up to 2 litters per year.

    Otter cubs are tiny, not more than 48-57 g at birth. That's not much bigger than a mouse! Both mum, dad and older siblings play an important part in raising the youngsters. The cubs open their eyes for the first time at 40 days and learn to swim at 9 weeks. Solid food is first taken after about 80 days.

    The cubs may stay with their parents to form a social group, or they may leave the den to start their own families. Social groups can be up to fifteen-otters large.

    Aonyx Cinerea have been known to live up to 22 years in captivity though this is likely to be much shorter in the wild.


    Unlike the more restrained Eurasian otters, these Asian dudes are very vocal. They use their voices to communicate with each other. They have a repertoire of over 12 different types of calls in addition to the basic instinctive cries.

    All work no play...

    While they aren't tool-users in the way that sea otters are, the Asian short-claw will sometimes carry around pebbles in their armpits which they use as playthings. Sometimes they will spend long comic moments juggling the pebble with their nimble paws. Tame otters have been known to use their pebbles to open kitchen drawers.

    Back: Distribution
    Next: Diet