URL: Hussain, S. A., 1995. . 47 The old adage that there is strength in numbers certainly rings true when it comes to smooth-coated otters. While most wild otters would leave their family at around two years old, Singaporeâs otters will stay with their parents until three or four, as they wait for territory to open up. In 1977, the Singaporean government launched its Clean River Campaign, and in 1998, otters began to return to the tropical island on their own. In addition, pollution of waterways by pesticides and agricultural run-off leading to a decrease in prey (fishes) for the otters has also been identified as a cause of its decline, With their diet largely comprising of fish, it comes as no surprise that smooth-coated otters also experience serious and widespread conflict with aquaculturists and fishermen, . The colour varies from dark to reddish brown, with the belly slightly paler and the throat, side of neck, cheeks, and upper lip whitish or gray 7 Smooth-coated otters are often sighted in our mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas. âItâs a really healthy population,â Johns says. This is largely due to anthropogenic reasons. However, there are certain characteristics of the smooth-coated otter that sets it apart from all other otters. âBut if you ask Singaporeans about the otters now, they could not only tell you what species they are, but which family they belong to, and how many babies the family has.â (Read how wildlife is hacking life in the city.). As many factors influence the smooth-coated otter's activity pattern, there is no clear reason for the variation between the seasons 17 During this period and right after giving birth, the female is usually very aggressive and will fiercely protect her pups 25 Pups, usually born blind and helpless, will stay with their parents for up to a year, during which their parents will teach them to swim and forage, among other things 19 A review of otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Lutrinae) in Malaysia and Singapore. has a dark chestnut brown coat, with a whitish chin and paler belly and feet. … Charismatic and photogenic, the smooth-coated otter has made a strong comeback in Singapore’s waterways. On the other hand, their holt (or den) and territorial, . 43 comments. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- 44 Otters cross a street as tourists take their photo near Gardens by the Bay, a popular nature park in Singapore. The Smooth Otter ranges throughout mainland Southeast Asia as far west as India, and in Sumatra. The hairless nose of the smooth-coated otter also almost immediately sets it apart from the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) 7 This photograph taken on May 29, 2020 shows a smooth-coated otter next to a canal in Singapore. The smooth-coated otter has a rounder head and flatter tail than the common otter. Though the male otters are bigger, it is usually the females who are more dominant in the relationship 20 Though, more recently, these delightful otters have begun to make use of our urban waterways, and can commonly be spotted in parks and reservoirs as well. Conservation Status: Critically Endangered. A smooth-coated otter family is made up of monogamous parents, subadults, and between four and six pups. Contrary to what some might believe, none of the wild otters in Singapore were zoo releases. However, the chin is iron-grey rather than white, and the belly is only slightly paler than the rest of the coat. Its eyes and ears are small while its limbs are short and strong, . In the summer season, the otters tend to adopt a bimodal activity pattern which means that there are two active periods in a day - late afternoon and past midnight, . font-size: .8em; Singapore's otters, long adored by the city-state's nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the coronavirus lockdown but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. ", by Samantha Boh. A mother otter and her three pups - the resident family at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Singapore.Photo by Shirley Ng, story posted on Facebook by NParks. Two smooth-coated otters playing, where the sharp claws on the right front foot of the otter on the left is can clearly be seen. Branch support (MBS), jackknife proportions (MJACK), bootstrap proportions (MLBOOT) and clade credibility values (BICC) are shown above the internodes from left to right. Double-headed arrows indicate that Hydrictis maculicollis and Enhydra lutris switch positions in the MP tree. . 46 It is unknown exactly how many individuals are left in the wild. Watch the video below to follow the story of the otter family at the Bishan-AMK Park. (In one humorous incident, otters climbed up a metal maintenance ladder to exit a canal.). . text-align: center; To ensure that people continue to live in harmony with the smooth-coated otters, the National Parks Board (NParks) has issued the following advisory 48 On January 5, 2021 in Singapore, a white-collar kingfisher climbs a tree next to the Giam Kim Bridge in Singapore. “Singapore is the best example with the smooth-coated otters living right in the city center,” he said. A Latin Dictionary. Numbered boxes denote nodes. They are taking a hit, changing their behavior when pups are around. In winter, it appears that the otters prefer a trimodal activity pattern, with peak activity periods occurring in the early morning, late afternoon, and before midnight, . The small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter can be found in Singapore. . Photo by, The first sighting of a smooth-coated otter in Singapore was in 1938, a male at Lazarus Island, . The playful smooth-coated otters at Bishan-AMK Park interacting with an elderly man trying to take photos of them. Reunited, the family forms a v-formation as they glide across the mirrored lake. Itâs a family of seven otters, likely on their way to their den at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. They are one of the larger otter species, growing up to 1.2m from the head to the tip of the tail and usually weighing around 7 to 11kg 6 It was probably done out of curiosity towards these fairly new creatures to Singapore and resulted in one otter pup being injured. As mentioned above, there exists three subspecies of L. perspicillata - L. p. perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826), L. p. sindica (Pocock, 1949), and L. p. maxwelli (Hayman, 1957) . âThey are pushing the fish toward the shoreline so the pups can learn how to catch them,â he explains. It is a mammal, often spotted in our mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas, where it forages for clams, fish, and other small creatures. Smooth-coated otter. Now their resurging numbers are … . They later became known as the "Bishan 10" after the birth of five new pups in 2016. Based on behaviour, vocalizations and morphology, especially that of the skull, it was initially thought that the closest relative of L. perspicillata would be Pteronura brasiliensis (giant otter) 51 background-repeat: no-repeat; 85, Kruuk, H., 1995. L. p. maxwelli is very similar to L. p. perspicillata in that it also has a coat of dark brown fur. . This species is smaller in overall size and somewhat cuter to most people. âItâs like the 35-year-old living in their parentsâ basement,â Johns quips. 2 Singapore's smooth-coated otters are perhaps one of the country's favourite wildlife mascots, remaining popular even after a provoked otter bit a five-year-old girl two weeks ago. With their diet largely comprising of fish, it comes as no surprise that smooth-coated otters also experience serious and widespread conflict with aquaculturists and fishermen 11 Photo from WikiCommons. .Additionally, otters are highly adaptable and inquisitive by nature. Phylogenetic tree extracted and adapted from Koepfli et al., 2008. Food and feeding habits of smooth-coated otters (. ) 26)". It was suggested that the local population of smooth-coated otters were not residents as they could easily travel between Singapore and Johor, . and their presence is not always welcomed. - Keep your dog on a tight leash; your dog might chase and frighten the otters. 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