Sadly the Giant Otter is Nearly Extinct

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Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis, or "londra" in Spanish) are also known as the Brazilian otter and flat-tailed otter. Males can reach lengths of 1.8 meters (about 71 inches, or 5.9 feet) from their noses to the tip of their tails and can weigh between 20 and 30 kilograms (44 and 66 pounds). Females are slightly smaller. They are the longest and largest of the otter species.

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Photo © Michel GUNTHER and Text WWF Bolivia All Rights Reserved

Their fur is short and soft and varies in color from dark brown to black. They have small patches of lighter colored fur on their throats. Scientists and local residents of the areas they inhabit can tell them apart by these patches as each otter has a its own distinct pattern.

Because their fur is soft and velvety and also waterproof, they were hunted for the skins which were made into jackets, coats and handbags. In fact, they were hunted nearly into extinction and today there are very few of this species left. They inhabit the Pantanal region. The otters live in families of about 10 to 12 and are active during the day.

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They spend most of the time in the water as their primary source of food is fish. They like to ear piranhas although they also enjoy crabs and conches, and sometimes even snakes and caimans. Because of their size they have few predators other than humans and the occasional jaguar.

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