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Spot-necked Otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) Fact Sheet, 2010   Tags: africa, fact sheet, freshwater, fur, hydrictis maculicollis, lake, mammal, mustelid, otter, river, san diego zoo, spot-necked otter  

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016 URL: http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/spot-neckedotter Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Spot-necked Otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) Fact Sheet, 2010

Image Credit: Chris Hunkeler Flickr, taken at the San Diego Zoo. Some Rights Reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Describer (Date): Lichenstein (1835)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Subfamily: Lutrinae

Genus: Hydrictis

Species: Hydrictis maculicollis

Body Weight: 3-6 kg (7-13 lb)

Head/Body Length:
Males - 730 mm (2.5 ft);
Females - 585 mm (1.9 ft).

Tail Length: Average 400 mm (1.3 ft)

Pelage: Chocolate to reddish brown. Chin and upper lip, white. Two layers of fur: outer guard hairs, undercoat of denser hairs that trap air for insulation.

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range: Sub-Saharan Africa, south of 10° N latitude but not in southern tip of Africa except for KwaZulu-Natal.

Habitat: Freshwater lakes, dams, rivers; not in coastal or marine waters.

IUCN Status: Near Threatened, version 3.1

CITES Appendix: Appendix II

Populations in Wild: Declining; status largely unknown.

Locomotion: Agile in water; emerge to sleep, excrete, give birth, and usually to eat their catch. Walk, run 4-5 km/hr (2.5-3.1 mi/hr), gallop 6-7 km/hr (3.7-4.3 mi/hr). Can stand vertically on hind limbs.Can jump a 1 m (3 ft) gap.

Activity Cycle: Mainly diurnal; some populations nocturnal.

Social Groups: Highly variable; some localities with foraging groups of up to 20 individuals, other places have mainly solitary hunting.

Diet: Mostly fish; some crabs, insects and frogs in some fish-poor localities.

Predators: Some reports of predation by Nile crocodile but not well documented.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity: Females (in captivity) can reproduce at 2 years.

Gestation: About 2 months.

Litter Size: 1- 3 cubs/litter

Birth weight: Around 100 g (0.2 lb)

Age at Weaning: 12-18 weeks

Longevity: Up to 8 yrs. in wild; up to 14 years in captivity.

Feature Facts: Two layers of thick fur keeps otters from losing body heat in water; they groom fur by scratching and biting it (not licking) and by against grass, rocks, or logs. This activity is vital to their physical and mental health.

San Diego Zoo Global: The San Diego Zoo's Ituri Forest is one of six places in North America where spot-necked otters from Africa can be seen. Two monkey species housed in this naturalistic four-acre African habitat often play "grab-the-tail" with these otters.

 

About This Fact Sheet

© 2010-2016 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated 2015. Conservation status update 2016.

How to cite: Spot-Necked Otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) Fact Sheet, 2010. c2010-2016. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/spot-neckedotter
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org.

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