What is Eurasian Otter?

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What is Eurasian Otter? Blog Image


A team of researchers recently discovered a Eurasian otter in the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki, a first in Kerala.

About Eurasian Otter

  • It is a semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal native to Eurasia.
  • Scientific Name: Lutra lutra
  • Distribution:
    • It has one of the widest distributions of all Palearctic mammals, from Ireland to China and down to Southeast Asia.
    • It lives throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia.
    • In India, it occurs in northern, northeastern, and southern India.
  • Habitat:
    • It inhabits streams, rivers, lakes, freshwater and peat swamp forests, ocean shores, rice fields, fjords, caves, and other terrestrial habitats close by waterways.
    • In the Indian subcontinent, it is found in cold hills and mountain streams.
  • Features:
    • It has a long body with a thick tail and short legs.
    • It is brown above and cream below.
    • It has sensitive whiskers around the snout to help detect prey.
    • It has two layers of fur: a thick, waterproof outer one and a warm inner one.
    • It has an acute sense of sight, smell, and hearing.
    • It is an elusive, solitary otter, but sometimes it is seen in family groups, composed of a mother and her offspring.
    • It has a varied diet, which includes fish, crustaceans, amphibians, and sometimes reptiles, birds, eggs, insects, and worms.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN: Near threatened
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II
    • CITES: Appendix I

Key Facts about Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS)

  • Location:
    • It is located in Idukki District, Kerala.
    • It lies in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats and receives very less amount of rainfall every year.
  • The south side of the sanctuary is covered by Eravikulam National park, and the north side is by Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Vegetation:
    • It has a wide array of habitat types, like deciduous forests, dry thorn scrub, riparian forest, shoals, and grasslands.
  • There is an extensive sandlewood forest nearby the sanctuary.
  • Flora:
    • Chinnar has about 1000 species of flowering plants and a wide variety of medicinal plants.
    • The major species of flora include Acacia arabica, Acacia leucofolia, Acacia concinna, antallum album, Anogeissus latifolia, Rhododendron
      nilagiricum, Elaeocarpus, etc.
  • Fauna:
    • It is home to the endangered Great Grizzled Squirrel of India.
    • Other important mammals that you can see here are the elephant, tiger, leopard, guar, sambar, spotted deer, Nilgiri Tahr, etc.

Q1) What are Solitary animals?

Solitary animals are those that spend a majority of their lives without others of their species, with possible exceptions for mating and raising their young. The antonym to a solitary animal is a social animal.

Source: Eurasian otter discovered for the first time from Kerala