Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Vertebrates: Mammals
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
Family Mustelidae

Otters are rarely seen, but two species are quite common in Southeast Asia. Solitary individuals of both species are infrequently seen in our Johore Straits mangroves, but these are usually visitors from Malaysia.

close-up of small-clawed oriental otter
Note the absence of obvious
claws on the paws
Small-clawed oriental otter
Amblonyx cinereus

0.8 m

The smallest otter is the Small-clawed otter. It has finger-like paws and is mainly a crab eater. It has very sensitive fingers and captive animals have been trained to juggle objects!
A family of Small-clawed otters were resident on Pulau Tekong in the early 1990's, and it is hoped a family will take up residence in Sungei Buloh Nature Park one day!

a pair of smooth otters
Note the presence of
obvious claws
Smooth otter
Lutrogale perspicillata

1.3 m

The larger Smooth otter has strong jaws, is a well known burrower and prefers to eat fish. In coastal areas of Malaysia, you might be lucky enough to see a family group!

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What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre