Predators and Competitors of the Neotropical Otter


JaguarNeotropical Otters may fall prey to anacondas, jaguars, caimans and birds of prey. Electric eels and stingrays might also be a danger (Duplaix, 1980).  Near populated areas, dogs also kill them (Larivire 1999). According to Quadros & Monteiro-Filho (2002), cats such as Jaguarondi (Herpailurus yaguarondi) are attracted to otter spraint because of the fishy smell rather than in order to ambush otters. 


In some areas of their range, Neotropical Otters are sympatric with Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), but since they differ in prey size, micro-habitat choice, holt preferences and, in some areas, daily activity patterns, they are not competitors.  Smaller, shyer Neotropical Otters do use exactly the same sites, but not at the same time, avoiding their large, noisy relatives (Duplaix, 1980). At the extreme southern end of their geographic range, they might be sympatric with the Southern River Otter, although this animal is extremely rare, and this, and its effects on either species, is unknown.

Crab-Eating FoxApart from other otters, the Neotropical Otter is a competitor for resources with numerous other predators making a living in its habitats, preying on the same food animals.  This has not been examined in any systematic way. Quadros and remark that otter holts are also used by crab-eating foxes (Cerdocyon thous), and Neotropical Otters will take the same prey items.

Great Egret in Costa RicaAn interesting association has been observed between Great Egrets (Ardea alba) and Neotropical Otters in the canals and lagoons of the Aviarios del Caribe Nature Reserve in Costa Rica. When foraging otters arrived, an egret, on four occasions, was observed to immediately fly to the adjacent  shallows and successfully catch fish disturbed by the otters (McCall 1996)

Neotropical River Otter