Giant otters are the longest member of the weasel family. Social active semi-aquatic mammals who can move gracefully in shallow river water. They have a remarkable trademark too: a white spot on their neck, which they proudly display when noticed. Can you blame them for being one of the 'must-see' animals in Kabalebo?
Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) can best be described as social peaceful animals, very terrestrial and when they are noticed they become one of the noisiest group you are ever going to meet (next to the large macaws)
I have seen the giant otters on many occasions when I was on the river, either in a motorboat or in a kayak. They are one of the best experience of a pleasant close encounter.
The cubs in the family are well being taken care of by the entire group. When such a group is 'discovered' the mother will hide with her cub in the dense bushes, while the rest of the family will do their outmost best to distract the onlookers. When we notice that a group of giant otters have cubs in their family, we try to stay as short as possible. It is known that human visual can lead to neglect and decreased lactation towards the cubs.
Giant otters feed mostly on fish (catfish), crabs, snakes and small caimans. They hunt as a group trying to ambush their prey. It is also known that giant otters are pro fish hunters, making it for you impossible to try to catch a fish nearby.
Due to poaching and habitat loss, giant otters are one of the most endangered mammal species in the Neotropics. Seeing them here in Kabalebo, out there in their natural habitat, makes my stay here even more pleasurable.
I was able to record their sound when I met such a group. Remarkable sound.