Giant Brasilian Otter : Distribution
Where in the world...
The Giant Otter was discovered by science in 1788 and was once found throughout the Amazonian basin of South America, but is now restricted to a few remaining isolated areas of the interior. They are extinct in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay and rare everywhere else. There are probably only a few thousand individuals left in the world! Their remaining strongholds are considered to be Surinam and the Guianas, while in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil a reduction in hunting means there is a good population there.
They live on major slow-flowing rivers or lakes in large family groups of up to 30 members, although 8-10 is more common. Each family territory is typically between 2-4kms of riverbank, though they will range away from the river for food, especially in the rainy season when the entire forest may be flooded!
When otters move into an area of riverbank, they typically prepare a home area for themselves by trampling all the vegetation flat along a few metres of riverbank and hauling branches up which they trample into this muddy patch. The boundaries of the home area are scent marked and several communal toilets are also created along the edge of the flattened area. They create holts under logs and beneath trees, usually having several along the riverbank within their territory.