Up to 16 years
under human care.
under human care.
Also small fish, insects, rodents, reptiles and frogs.
mangroves and tidal pools.
through Southeast Asia to the Philippines, Taiwan and southern China.
Our otters’ two-tiered exhibit is spread across an outdoor upper deck and an indoor viewing gallery. The terrain of the top tier is rocky - they build their dens and nest chambers beneath the boulders. Here, you’ll see them doing their laps in the stream, engaged in a game of tag or playing ‘juggle-the-pebble’. To view their underwater acrobatics, follow the footpath to the lower exhibit. Zoom in on their tiny ears and nostrils - the otters can close them while they swim.
At the underwater viewing gallery, you’d probably get close enough to note the otters’ thick fur coat. What you see is their outer layer of long guard hairs, coated with oil to repel water. Only this layer gets wet when the otters take a dive. A layer of fine, tightly-packed underfur stays dry. Air pockets within their coat keep the otters insulated while they swim. It’s important to regularly reintroduce air into their coats, which is why you’d often see them grooming themselves.
True to their name, these otters’ claws do not grow past their digital pads. They have partially webbed paws, which means they’re far more dexterous than otters with fully-webbed ones. Using their forepaws rather than their mouth, they dig for shellfish like clams, mussels and their favourite crabs on the sandy shoreline. Their sharp teeth are well-adapted to the task of crushing shells. Alternatively, they bring catch like clams on land, leaving them to open in the sun.
With a vocabulary of 12 different calls, these otters can be a noisy bunch. The calls are used for contact, summons, greeting, threat and alarm. Scent markings are just as important for communication. Otters emit a musky smell from paired scent glands at the base of the tail that helps mark their territory. The scent also gives chemical cues as to identity, sex and reproductive state. If you were wondering about the smell at the exhibit, this probably explains!
Carelessly-disposed waste that ends up in our waterways are a threat to wildlife. In the “Free Aquarius” operation, WRS vets rescued a wild smooth-coated otter pup injured by an ‘O’ ring coiled around her body.
Let’s help the otters by reducing waste. Refill your bottle at water dispensers in our parks.