The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Clawless Otter

Afrikaans name:

Cape Clawless Otter

Cape Clawless Otter

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Aonyx capensis

The Cape Clawless Otter is a much larger animal than its cousin the Spotted-necked Otter. They reach a length of 1.25 metres and can weigh 12 to 14 kg with females being larger than the males.

These beautiful creatures can be found in fresh or sea water. They can be found in most places with permanent water in South Africa. They are totally absent from the drier areas of the Western Cape and Northern Cape.

The underparts are normally lighter than the upperparts. They are white on the upper chest, throat, and chin. They use their flattened tales to propel themselves in water and they are proficient swimmers.

Unlike the Spotted-necked Otter this species is active at night and in the day. They feed on a variety of prey, but fish and crabs make a significant portion of their diet. Other prey includes octopus, molluscs, frogs, insects, and small reptiles. They catch their prey in the water and then take it to dry land to eat.

Females normally give birth to two young, and this can take place at any time during the year. She gives birth in a burrow near a dam, watercourse, or the ocean.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 202

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 90

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 53

Two Oceans - Author: Branch, Griffiths, Branch and Beckley - Published: 2010 - Page: 362

Wild Issue 25 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 38

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 168

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 18

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 85

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 104

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 62

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 418

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 71

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 6

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1995 - Page: 183

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 50

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 21

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 110

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 311

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 42

First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2003 - Page: 23

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 128

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Published: 1987 - Page: 72

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 238

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 128

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 61

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 43

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 61

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 310


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List of South African Mammals

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