Predators and Competitors of the Smooth-Coated Otter

The information below comes mainly from Kruuk (1995), Kruuk, Kanchanasaka et al (1994) and A Close Encounter with the Otters of Sungei Buloh.


The Estuarine or Salt-Water Crocodile, Crocodilus porosus Estuarine (Salt-Water) crocodiles are the only likely predator. These animals are too small to interest the top range predators such as tigers, and too ferocious for smaller carnivores to bother with. Even in turbid waters, otters would detect approach by predators using their whiskers to monitor water currents. The only likely predator would be a crocodile that approached in muddy water, and snatched an otter from the bank.


Lutrogale perspicillata shares its range with combinations of three other otter species: the Small-Clawed Otter (Amblonyx cinereus), the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra) and the Hairy-Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana).

The Indian Swamp Crocodile or Mugger, Crocodylus palustris Where the first three species are sympatric, they partition resources between them: the Small-Claw eats mainly crabs, the Smooth-Coat mainly large fish (>15cm), and the Eurasian Otter smaller fish and amphibians. To some extent, they use the habitat differently - the Small-Claw keeps to the shallows and riverbanks, the Smooth-Coat preferring deep water, and the Eurasian Otter something in between. They spraint in different kinds of places too - the Eurasian Otter mainly chooses sites near the water's edge, the Smooth-Coat prefers large, flat rocks in very prominant positions, high up, and the Small-Claw prefers flat rocks high up, but in less prominent positions. All three have been seen to regularly visit and sniff each other's spraint sites, evidently recognising them as of fellow otters, and presumably determining some kind of resource and territorial information from them; Kruuk doesn't say whether they added to each other's heaps as they would to conspecifics' sites; it would be interesting to know whether they do or not.

The Indian Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus The Ganges River Dolphin, Platanista gangetica The Great Egret Other competitors for fish include the Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), the Indian Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the Ganges and Indus River Dolphins (Platanista spp.), turtles, larger fish, and birds such as the heron, kingfisher and egrets.

Smooth-Coated Otter