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Amazing Animals

Asian Small-clawed Otter

(Aonyx cinera)

Both sexes generally weigh between 2.5 to 3kg. Of the 13 species of otter found throughout the world, this is the smallest, attaining a body length of 41 to 64cm and a tail length of 25 to 35cm. Asian Small-clawed Otters have fully webbed 'feet' and partially webbed 'hands', which greatly assist survival in their primarily aquatic lifestyle.


Asian small-clawed otters are found in South-East Asia in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South China and Himalayan regions. They select areas with equal amounts of land and running water. They will inhabit rivers, streams, rice paddies and coastal mangroves. They build a den into the side of a river bank called a holt.


The diet of the Asian small-clawed otter consists of fish, crustaceans and shellfish, small land prey and eggs. In the wild can take down prey twice their own size. In captivity a variety of seafoods and meats can be added to their diet, as well as treats such as peanuts and corn. They are excellent hunters due to their speed. They have a very streamlined body for fast swimming and agility - they have one of the most flexible backbones of all vertebrates. In the wild Asian small-clawed otters eat one third of their body weight in food each day. Otters are very active and have an extremely high metabolism. They can spend 40-60% of day just on hunting and eating.


Asian Small-clawed Otters are sexually mature as early as 12 months of age, but usually do not reproduce until 2 to 3 years of age. They mate for life and can produce two litters of young per year. Each of these litters can produce up to six cubs.

Otters are very social and will live in large family groups of up to 20 individuals.

Life Span

In the wild, Asian Small-clawed Otters generally live to the age of 8 to 10 years, but in captivity they are capable of living to the age of 20.

Lauren with Maria

Display Status

On DisplayOur Amazing Asian Small-clawed Otter(s) are currently on display

Asian Small-clawed Otter Profiles

Bonnie Maria

Asian Small-clawed Otter Profiles


Rebecca feeding Bonnie

Age: 11 years (DOB 4/3/1998)

Sex: Female

You Can Adopt Bonnie

Bonnie joined our family at Australia Zoo back in 1999 as a cheeky one-year-old otter, along with her sister Maria. Both girls are just as cheeky as ever!

Normally this species would only live eight to 10 years of age in the wild. However, with the 5-star luxury resort-style living they experience here at Australia Zoo, the girls are expected to reach at least 20 years of age.

Bonnie enjoys a variety of food items on a daily basis at the Zoo, with some of her favourite foods being Garfish, Whiting and Crayfish.

There are plenty of games for the girls to play here at Australia Zoo, with Bonnie often leading her sister into all sorts of trouble. Just don't mention the opposite sex or you'll start to witness some 'big sister jealousy' from Bonnie towards Maria!


Lauren with Maria

Age: 11 years (DOB 4/3/1998)

Sex: Female

You Can Adopt Maria

Maria is the other half of our Asian Small-clawed Otter duo. If you would like to tell the girls apart when you visit them, it's simple: Bonnie has a small white spot in the middle of her back and Maria has much whiter fur on her chest.

These cheeky little girls also have very different personalities. Bonnie is the boss so you will usually see Maria following closely behind her. You will also often see Maria following at her keeper's heels, as she loves bonding time and of course feeding time. When we jump in to visit the otters, Maria likes to sit on our lap and check each and every pocket to make sure we aren't hiding any food from her! The otters enjoy fish, corn and insects. Our otters never go hungry; in fact, they get five yummy feeds a day - although you would never guess this from the way they act. As soon as people are around, these show-offs love to put on the sad eyes and chirp away as if they're starving. Bonnie and Maria never fail to entertain a crowd.

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