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Scientific name:
Pteronura brasiliensis 

Conservation Status:
Endangered

Where to see them in the zoo:
Near the top of Trader’s Alley, next to the Orangutans of Ketambe habitats  

Fun Facts:

Giant otters are among the top predators in their ecosystems; as such, they are also referred to as “river wolves.” 
 
These are the world’s largest otters in terms of length. 
 
Young otters are not born knowing how to swim; they’re taught by their parents when they are a few months old. 

 Giant Otter

Size: 
Males average 5 to 6.2 feet in length and weigh between 57 and 70 pounds; females are 5 to 5.5 feet long and weigh around 48 pounds. 
 
Range: 
East of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, Colombia and northern Argentina 
 
Lifestyle:
Giant otters are very social, living in groups of up to 10 individuals; groups are composed of a monogamous pair and their offspring. 
 
Diet:
Carnivores, feeding primarily on fish such as catfish and perch; giant otters will also eat small snakes, small caimans, mammals, crustaceans and amphibians. Zoo diet includes a variety of fish: trout, tilapia, catfish, smelt and butterfish.
 
Lifecycle:
Giant otters breed in late spring and early summer. Females give birth to one to five cubs, with two being the most common. Gestation is typically 65 to 70 days; cubs are weaned after three or four months. Lifespan is 10 to 12 years; late teens in zoological settings.
 
Neighbors in the wild:
Caimans, anacondas, jaguars, piranhas 
 
Population status and threats:
Giant otter populations have declined dramatically as a result of habitat loss, illegal hunting for pelts, water pollution and canine diseases such as canine parvovirus.