The Giant River Otter By Clay Rust
What They Eat • The Giant Otter likes to eat fish, preferably perch and catfish, but when it can not find fish it feeds on small caiman, crustaceans, and small snakes. When hunting, the Giant Otter uses mostly its eyesight, but it also uses its hearing and smell as well. Vibrissae on the snout are sensitive to water turbulence and also help the animal detect movement of prey. The Giant Otter will either hunt alone or in a group and in deep or shallow water. In one day the Giant Otter will eat 6-9 pounds of food.
Where They Live • The Giant Otter lives in large rivers in the tropical rain forest of South America. The Giant Otters prefers slow moving rivers with lush vegetation on the banks, where it can find fish to hunt and still be under dense cover to avoid predators such as the jaguar and the puma.
Threats to the Giant River Otter • Although the Giant Otter is at the top of its food chain it still has many threats that are depleting the populations. The main threat is destruction of the rain forests for farming and development. Over fishing is also a serious threat because it destroys the main food source of the Giant Otter. Another threat is water pollution caused by using mercury to extract gold from river sediment. A very direct threat is poaching. Giant Otters are protected by law but they are still being killed for their dense fur and also because they are viewed as competitors for fish.
What is being done to protect the giant river otter • The only thing that is actual being done to help protect them is that it was made illegal to hunt and/or kill them.