Reproduction in the Spotted-Necked Otter

This is summary of the information from Harris (1968), Otters: Proceedings of the First Working Meeting of the Otter Specialist Group (1977), Otters: An Action Plan for their Conservation. (1990), University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web, Chanin (1985) and RZu2U.

The spotted-necked otter is thought to breed seasonally, but the actual season seems to vary throughout the range between September and December. RZu2U notes that in captivity, these animals are polyoestrus.

When the female is in season, the male pursues her doggedly through several days of uncertain temper (when not in season, the sexes interact non-aggressively). Gestation is the usual 63 days. Some authorities regard the pair bond as being of short duration in that the female drives the male off when the cubs arrive, although other people have noted that he may return when they are around 5 months old and help to provide food for the pups.

One to five cubs are born, grey with white spotting already established. They are weaned at 12-16 weeks, begin to swim at 8 weeks and stay with their mother for at least a year, often till after the birth of a second litter. As cubs, they play-fight and romp, but the most common game is tossing an object into the water and retrieving it before it reaches the bottom; presumably this is to practise catching prey and has been seen in both the wild and captivity.

The cubs become fully mature at two years.

This long lived species may reach 20 years in captivity but life in the wild is likely to be a great deal shorter.

Spotted-Necked Otter