The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Spotted-necked Otter

Afrikaans name: Klein Otter

Spotted-necked Otter

Spotted-necked Otter

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Hydrictis maculicollis

With a total length of about 1 metre the Spotted-necked Otter is the smaller of the two species of Otter found in South Africa. The other species is the Cape Clawless Otter. The males of this species weigh around 4.5 kg with the females being 1 kg lighter.

These otters are found along the southern and eastern coastal regions of South Africa. In KwaZulu-Natal their range extends inland as far as the Free State and parts of Mpumalanga. They are also found in the western and central parts of Africa.

The Spotted-necked Otter varies in colour from a darkish brown to a reddish brown. The spots on the neck that its name refers to are creamy white blotches on the upper chest and throat. As opposed to the Cape Clawless Otter this species does have claws.

They eat a wide variety of foods, but fish form the main part of their diet. Other foods that are eaten include crabs, frogs, insects, and even small birds if it can catch them. They are active in the early morning and late evening. They live most of their lives in pairs or solitary.

Females give birth to one or two young. She gives birth to them in a hole or in a thicket of reeds. They are helpless at birth, and they stay with their mother for a year. Summer is the breeding season for these fascinating creatures.

References and further reading

The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa - Author: P. Briggs - Published: 2020 - Page: 328

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 54

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 91

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 62

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

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 166

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

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 60

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 69

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 2

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar - Author: Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller - Published: 1980 - Page: 184

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 40

Predators of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Grobler, Hall-Martin & Walker - Published: 2012 - Page: 42

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

Maberlys Mammals of Southern Africa - Revised edition - Author: Richard Goss - Published: 1986 - Page: 128

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 112

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 418

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

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 240


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List of South African Mammals

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