Increasing human population, farming and overgrazing.
This otter occurs from South Africa northwards to Ethiopia and Senegal, but is
absent from the central rainforest areas. The African Clawless Otter is similar in
appearance to the Asianger. Although it is born with tiny claws it loses these
on all toes except the middle three on the hind feet. There is no webbing and it
can therefore use its "fingers" more freely than other species. It captures
most of its prey in its paws, hunting by sight and also using the long vibrissae
(whiskers) which help when hunting in murky waters.
These otters are active generally during the late afternoon and early evening, and like many otter species have set sprainting points and grooming areas. They are usually seen alone or in pairs, but occasionally they can be seen in family groups of up to five animals.
Young otters go through rituals of fighting and romping. They often pick up an object, juggle with it, throw it in the water and attempt to retrieve it before it falls to the bottom. These games probably help the youngsters to practice skills they will need to capture prey in later life.
Distribution of the African Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis)
The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) is one of the world's leading otter charities. In the UK IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on over 20 years of scientific research in the UK and around the world.
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