9 fun Facts About Small-Clawed Otters And how you can save them

The Southeast Asian small-clawed otter is a playful – and very loveable – tiny mammal. 

It's the smallest otter species known for its familial bonds. However, it faces imminent threats due to deforestation, habitat depletion, and dwindling food. As a result, the species has been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Vulnerable Species.

@greatergoodcharities Donate today to support the preservation of small-clawed otters and other vulnerable species like them. #otter #animalrescue ♬ original sound - Greater Good Charities

Greater Good Charities is working with Wildlife At Risk to document and safeguard the small-clawed otter population. Global Discovery Expeditions will also be on the ground March 14-24, 2024, to further document Vietnam's extraordinary biodiversity.

But first, the otters. 

Video © Wildlife at Risk

things to know about Small-Clawed Otters

1: They Are Social Butterflies
Small-clawed otters are the most social otter species, living in extended family groups of up to 15. These groups work together to hunt, groom, and raise their young.

2: They Are Pint-Sized Powerhouses
Small-clawed otters weigh only 4.4-11 lbs. and measure around 26-28 inches in length, including their tail. Despite their small size, small-clawed otters are incredibly agile swimmers and skilled hunters.

3: They Have Unique Paws
Unlike other otter species, small-clawed otters have webbed feet and tiny, nimble claws. Plus, small-clawed otters have opposable thumbs. These adaptations make them excellent foragers. 

4: They are Excellent Vocal Communicators
Small-clawed otters are pretty chatty, using a variety of vocalizations to communicate with each other. They produce chirps, whistles, and squeaks, which help them coordinate group activities, express emotions, and maintain social bonds within their family unit.

5: They Like to Play Around
They love sliding down muddy banks, chasing each other, and wrestling. This playtime helps them develop essential skills for hunting and socializing.

6: They Have a Gourmet Diet
Small-clawed otters have diverse tastes, feeding on fish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, and small amphibians. Their paws are adept at detecting and capturing prey, making them skilled hunters. 

7: Small-Clawed Otters Mate for Life
They form monogamous bonds and mate for life. They work together to raise their offspring, sharing responsibilities, including building dens, hunting for food, and caring for their pups.

8: They Love a Good Swim
Small-clawed otters inhabit Southeast Asia's freshwater wetlands, rivers, streams, and mangrove swamps, where they play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the ecosystems. 

9: They Have Multiple Names
Apart from "small-clawed otter" and "Asian small-clawed otter," these otters are also referred to as "Aonyx cinereus" in scientific circles.

VS-Photograph_20240223_PPL_Vietnam_Otters_002_©WildlifeAtRisk copyPhoto © Wildlife at Risk

Why Small-Clawed Otters are Threatened

Southeast Asia's small-clawed otters face threats to their survival, including habitat loss, pollution, poaching, and the exotic pet trade. Conservation efforts focused on habitat protection, anti-poaching, and public awareness are essential for ensuring their survival.

Video © Wildlife at Risk

our response 

Greater Good Charities is dedicated to conserving species in peril worldwide like small-clawed otters.

Project Peril works with our global partners on the ground to provide comprehensive aid and support.  

  • Rescue animals from illegal trafficking.
  • Train and employ locals to protect their habitats from deforestation and animal poaching.
  • Ensure natural migration corridors of numerous species remain uninterrupted.
  • Protect and restore species’ natural habitats through land protection and reforestation.
  • Develop cohabitation education to reduce retaliation against species.
  • Provide food and sanctuaries for endangered animals to live safely.
  • Create breeding programs to help repopulate critical species.

Want to help a Southeast Asian small-clawed otter? By donating to Greater Good Charities, you can feed them and support our initiatives through Project Peril.