Asian Small-clawed Otters

Photos and Facts about the Asian Small-clawed Otters
This is such an adorable animal!  Whether they are swimming, walking around on their short, little legs or sleeping, they have the ability to reach out and grab you heart. 

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is one of the smallest otters in the world, but he also has a few other characteristics that set him apart from other otters. 

All otters have webbed feet, but the Asian Small-clawed Otters feet are different.  The webbing only goes to the "knuckles" of his paw instead of to the tips of their toes, giving him hand-like "fingers".  Because of his reduced webbing, he has greater dexterity.  He also has extremely sensitive paws which he uses to catch his food.  Most otters have to use their teeth to catch food. 

The Asian Small-clawed Otter rarely eats fish like other otters.  That alone allows him to live in harmony with larger otters since they are not competing for the same food.
Also, the Asian Small-clawed Otter really does have very small claws that barely protrude beyond the tips of his paws.

Facts About Asian Small-clawed Otters

Status:  Vulnerable

  • Fur Color:  Gray brown to dark brown, with lighter fur on belly, throat and face
  • Great Swimmers with Extremely Strong Tail
  • Short, dense fur is impermeable to water
  • Live in dens that have tunnel entrances into the water
  • Tremendous lung capacity allows them to be underwater for several minutes
  • Body Length:  18" - 22"
  • Tail Length:   10" - 14"
  • Average Weight:  6½ - 13 lbs
  • Diet:  Clams, crabs, crayfish, snails & other aquatic animals
  • Live:  East Indies, China, & the Himalayas
  • Breeds with One Partner for Life 

The Asian Small-clawed Otters are classified as vulnerable.  They are mostly brown with a white throat
Asian Small-clawed Otter Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Training a Asian Small-clawed Otter

Asian Small-clawed Otters interact well with people, which allows them to be kept as pets in some areas of the world.

They are so affable, that Malay fisherman have can even train these adorable otters to fish for them.  Because of his hand-like paws, he can even fish in very shallow water by feeling for his catch.


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  1. How adorable. I've never seen the Asian small-clawed otter before. What an interesting fact page about this wild animal.

  2. I love to see otters of all kinds. I've never seen this one, so thanks for showing him to me. I notice you took his picture? WAs that in a zoo or did you meet him in the wild?

  3. When we got Daisy, our Lab, we read up on the Labrador Retriever breed. One way they described the characteristics of this type of dog was its "strong, otter-like tail." Interesting to see this little guy and that you mentioned his very strong tail. He's a cutie!

  4. I love otters, we used to go to Underwater World regularly and watch them play - they were guaranteed to put a smile on my face.


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