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Giant Otter: Prodigious Predator Of The Amazon & Pantanal


The whole world is completely in awe of the giant river otters of South America. For many travelers, catching a glimpse of this powerful predator is a highlight of their trip. But, why are people so fascinated by the Giant Otter? Let’s take a look at some of the things that make this animal so exciting to spot.

The Giant Otter is Huge

First up, the Giant Otter is enormous. You know those little otters you have seen at the zoo? Well, you can forget about them. The Giant Otter can grow up to six feet long. That’s about as long as a tall human man and twice the size of the North American river otter. It is the largest otter in the world, and that alone makes it worth seeing. Thus the aptly name Giant Otter captivates people with its incredible size. But, that’s not all.

Where Does it Live?

The Giant Otter can only be found in the Orinoco, Amazon, and La Plata rivers in South America. This means that you will need to travel to the Amazon Rainforest or Pantanal to be able to spot it in its natural habitat. River cruises in the Amazon or those in the Pantanal’s wetlands are an excellent way to offer good chances of seeing one of these otters. You’ll also get to explore some of the most beautiful places on earth while you’re there – win-win.

Giant River Otter Family

Giant River Otter Family Swimming Away

Giant Otters Have Families

Conclusive proof that otters are the most adorable creatures on the planet is the fact that they have families. Two parents in a monogamous relationship and their offspring will look after one another whilst hunting for fish or burrowing into dens in river banks or under fallen logs. Otters are also very social creatures and spend time grooming and communicating with one another. This communication consists of nine different vocalizations, each with a different meaning. Do you think you could learn to speak otter?

The Giant Otters Need Protection

Unfortunately, as with many species in the world, the population of the Giant Otter is declining. It faces threats from hunters who want its pelt as well as loss of habitat from deforestation. Fortunately, conservationists are well aware of these threats and are making efforts to keep Giant Otter safe and prevent it from going extinct. The Giant Otter is the rarest of all the otters but hopefully, the conservation efforts will increase its numbers and allow the rivers to teem with these wonderful animals.

Giant River Otter Pteronura Brasiliensis Bottom View

River Otters Swimming

Giant Otters Are Not Born Knowing How to Swim

Otters look so agile in the water it is hard to imagine that they ever go through a phase of not being able to swim. But, it’s true. For the first two months of a Giant Otter’s life, it hasn’t quite got its sea legs and so it takes a little while before it is able to swim. Once it starts, however, it very soon becomes as graceful and comfortable as its parents. On a side note, the Giant Otter babies are also born completely covered in fur, including their little noses!

The Giant Otter is truly a wonder to behold. It carves through the water with such ease, despite its colossal size, that it is a pleasure to sit and admire. Of course, the real challenge is finding one in the first place, which is becoming increasingly hard due to its endangered species status. If you are interested in a chance to view the Giant Otter and the other wildlife that inhabits the Amazon Rainforest or Pantanal, contact us today.


While Rainforest Cruises aim to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information herein or found by following any link on this site. Rainforest Cruises cannot and will not accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies, or for any consequences arising therefrom, including any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the display or use of this information.

This entry was posted June 14, 2018
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