Giant Brasilian Otter : Lifestyle
The dominant female in the holt is usually the only one to give birth, after a gestation period of just over two months. Mating can take place at any time of the year, but the most common time for births is during the dry season, between May and September. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, food is most plentiful then and secondly, there is less chance of the birth holt being flooded. Litters are between one and five cubs, although two or three is most common.
The whole holt helps take care of the young otters. While the group is out hunting, older siblings will often stay at the den to babysit. The youngsters open their eyes after one month. During their first two months they stay in the den, unless some disaster forces the group to move, in which case the cubs are carried by the scruff of the neck!
At two or three months the young begin to explore out of the den and their parents introduce them to water. Strangely, many cubs are petrified of the water at first, and it can take a lot of coaxing, cajoling and bullying from mum to get them to dive in! The young otters eat fish and join in group hunts quite soon after, but they are still dependent on their mother's milk until they are 5 months old.
Giant otters reach sexual maturity after two or three years. Some of the adults remain with the group while others travel away to seek out mates and territories of their own. They may return, as mates are hard to find. A Giant Brazilian Otter oughta life for 10 to 13 years (although this could extend to 21 years in captivity).