Oriental small-clawed otter

(Aonyx cinereus)


Oriental small-clawed otter IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

The Oriental small-clawed otter has a glossy brown fur with a lighter coloured underside. Their hair is relatively short and very water resistant. The claws of the Oriental small-clawed otter are much smaller than other otters. And also unlike other otters, their paws are very slightly webbed, and they are capable and dexterous when using them. They can close their nostrils and ears to keep water from getting in when they are under water.

Did you know?
That the Oriental small-clawed otter is the smallest of the 13 otter species in the world?


Name (Scientific) Aonyx cinereus
Name (English) Oriental small-clawed otter
Name (French) Loutre cendrée
Name (German) Zwergotter
Name (Spanish) Nutria cenicienta, Nutria inerme asiatica
Local names Malay: memerang kecil
Semai: Kebög
Tibetan: Saam
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Indonesia, southern China, southern India, the Philippines and Southeast Asia
Habitat Freshwater and peat swamp forests, rice fields, lakes, streams, reservoirs, canals, mangrove and along the coast (IUCN Red List)
Wild population Unknown (Red List IUCN 2011), but population is threatened by rapid habitat destruction, hunting, and pollution.
Zoo population 666 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Oriental small-clawed otter


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 82 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Oriental small-clawed otter is rated near-threatened by IUCN and zoos maintain viable ex situ populations under an International studbook and regional conservation breeding programmes. Animals bred under these programme are now kept for educational purposes and serve as ambassadors, lobbying for clean water and the restoration of freshwater courses.


Oriental small-clawed otters have the advantage of being largely diurnal and social animals, making them a very attractive species for the public.