These mammals belong to the “lutrinae subfamily”. There are 13 Otter species and these are semi-aquatic animals and one can be seen during the amazing Safaris in Uganda. Otters differ in size with the largest known as a giant otter which grow up to 5.9 feet long. The smallest of otters is the Asian small clawed otter which grows up 90 centimeters long and weighs about 5kg.
Otters have long-streamlined bodies and their feet are webbed to allow them swim properly. They are seen timely floating in water bodies on their backs something that shows they are good swimmers.
They have two different layers of fur; that is the dense undercoat which is used for trapping air and the topcoat which has is waterproof. The unfortunate thing is that this fur is on high demand in many countries and that is why they are almost extinct all over the world.
Otters are social animals that live in groups known as rafts and are nocturnal so the best chance for seeing them is taking on a late evening or night game drive while on your Uganda safari because they come out of to hunt.
They spend most of their time playing, wrestling and also chasing after their own tails.
During day time, these animals spend a lot of time grooming them-selves and this is the time they reduce their fur on their bodies by biting it off although sometimes rub their body against rocks, logs and grass.
Where to find Otters in Uganda?
While on a safari in Uganda, otters are often seen at the Uganda wildlife education Centre and Lake Mburo national park in southern Uganda and there are 3 types of otters living in this park. These animals are typical carnivorous species feeding on meat only
At 2-5 years an otter is mature enough for reproduction and after a female otter conceives, smaller otter types have a gestation period of 2 months while bigger ones like the sea otters have a gestation period that goes up to 5 months.
After the mother gives birth normally 1-5 young ones and sea otters give birth within water whereas the rest do this on land.
The young ones of an otter are referred to as pups weighing about 128 grams at the time of birth. The pups are born with eyes sealed but later on open when they turn 1 month and by the time they turn 2 months, they are can swim. When they are 1 year old, they are ready going on their own without their mother protection.
Otters have a life span of about 12 years while living in the wild although they can live longer while living in captivity.