African Clawless Otter

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African Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis). Facts and Figures. Endangered species -- MAMMAL.

Submitted: January 20, 2009

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Submitted: January 20, 2009




Caption: An African Clawless Otter resting on a river bank.

The African Clawless Otter (Aonyx Capensis)

Endangered Mammal


Quick Facts

Also known as the Cape Clawless Otter

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Mustelidae

Genus: Aonyx

Length: 72 to 91 centimetres

Weight: 12 to 21 kilograms


The African Clawless Otter has a sleek body covered in dark brown fur at its upper parts and lighter below. It also has white fur at the throat section. It has many white whiskers that border the face.

The clever hand-like forefeet lets the Otter seize its prey with ease, making it it's most significant feature. The front two feet have long fingers that, as the name suggests, do not have any claws but have rounded fingertips. Like the forefeet, the hindfeet also lack claws but have webbing between the toes.

The Otter has a large skull with robust jaws and broad molars that enable it to crush its prey. Thus, it makes the Otter a conspicuously skilful predator.


The African Clawless Otter is the most widely dispersed otter in Africa. It is found along habitats which have access to freshwater so it can drink and wash. However, the Otter is also capable of travelling long distances on land.

The Otters rest and sleep amid rocks or vegetation. Sometimes it digs burrows which can be 3 metres long and lined with leaves and grass.


The African Clawless Otter eats crustaceons as well as molluscs, water tortoises, fish and frogs. It eats small things while floating on the water and carries larger prey onto land to eat.


The African Clawless Otter emits a variety of whistles, huffs, growls and screams which is the way they communicate with others of their kind.


African Clawless Otters are independent when they are one year or age. Females reproduce one to three babies after a development of 63 days. They may breed at any time of the year.


Caption: African Clawless Otter diving underwater.


I would like to thank for their top-notch information and fabulous pictures.

All information was gathered from Arkive.

All pictures and images were gathered from Arkive.




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