Meet the Wetland Ambassadors – the Smooth-coated Otters. They are the chief predators of the waters and indicators of the health of a wetland ecosystem.

A Smooth-coated Otter at Kabini

A Smooth-coated Otter

Serving as effective symbols of environment quality, otters are endorsed as Wetland Ambassadors to promote the conservation of freshwater biomes (ecological community types).

Smooth-coated Otters are the largest otter species in Southeast Asia. The species is named after its short, smooth ‘coat’ which shines, appearing like velvet. Like other otters, they have short, ‘tightly packed’ fur and longer guard hair that is water repellent.

Like other otters, Smooth-coated Otters have webbed toes and strong paws with sharp claws.

Each otter also has a pair of scent glands at the base of its tail which mark land or objects, such as rocks or vegetation, near feeding areas.

Unlike seals though, which are ‘insulated’ by thick layers of fat, otters are very lean, their fur keeping them warm, and providing a streamlined appearance. Smooth-coated Otters are distinguished from other otter species by their rounder heads with prominent noses, and more flattened tails.

Smooth-coated Otter, Kabini

‘Dynamically’ Designed?

Frequently hunting in packs, they drive schools of fish together for easy capture. A pack has a feeding territory ranging between 7-12 square kilometers. Kabini is one place where you get to sight these otters.