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Spot-necked Otter (Hydrictis maculicollis) Fact Sheet: Reproduction & Development

Courtship

Little known in wild for this species.

Reproduction

Two seasonal breeding peaks in wild (Benza et al 2009)

Mating in June or July (Tanzania) and July (South Africa) (Benza et al 2009) (Procter 1963)

Gestation & Birth

Gestation

  •  About 2 months. (Larivière 2002)
  • In some freshwater otter species (Eurasian Otters) dens may be located somewhat away from water (Kruuk 2006)

 Birth

  • Young are born in September (at Lake Victoria) (Larivière 2002) (Procter 1963)
  • Up to 3 cubs/litter (Kruuk 2006)
  • Young are born blind.

Life Stages

  Infant (< 1 year old) (Reed-Smith 2009)      

  • Eyes open by 34-46 days.
  • Leave den by 57 days.
  • All teeth in by 78 days.
  • Stay with mother for one year
  • Males do not participate in raising young, but are typically gentle with cubs (seen in captivity)
    • Infanticide by males in wild is known for some otter species. (Kruuk 2006)
  • Begin swimming at 8 weeks
    • Young taught to fish and swim in secluded places. (Procter 1963)
    • Female keeps cubs away from group for about two months. (Benza et al 2009)
  • Weaned at 12-18 weeks

Juvenile

  •  Young animals are especially curious; need highly complex environments for physical and mental stimulation. (Benza 2009)

Adult

  •  Females begin reproducing at 2 years (in captivity) (Benza et al 2009)

Longevity

  • Live up to 8 years in the wild. (Davis 1978)
  • A male Eurasian otter lived 14 years at the Otter Breeding Centre of Hunawihr (France).

Mortality

  • Might be preyed upon by Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus), but little evidence for this. (Kruuk 2006) (Lejeune & Frank 1990)
    • Otters have been observed for many years in Lake Victoria "swimming within 10 m of crocodiles" (Reed-Smith 2009)
  • Juveniles are prey for fish eagles (Haliaetus vocifer) and monitor lizards (Kruuk & Goudswaard 1990) (Benza et al 2009)
  • Chemical pollution from agriculture and industry pose a significant threat

Page Citations

Benza et al (2009)
Davis (1978)
Kruuk (2006)
Kruuk & Goudswaard (1990)
Larivière (2002)
Lejeune & Frank (1990)
Procter (1963)
Reed-Smith (2009) 

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