I spotted this cute fella on one of my evening strolls at Gardens by the Bay, much to my pleasant surprise. Looks like it knows how to enjoy life in an urban garden :)
Nonchalantly lying on the wooden deck, and giving me a stare for disturbing its happy hour :p This is a smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), once thought to be locally extinct since the 1960s. The first sighting of a smooth-coated otter in Singapore was of a male in 1938 from Lazarus Island. The second otter sighting was recorded at Sungei Buloh in 1990. The otters have since returned, presumably from Johor, as they seek out new areas with increasing populations. Yeah, even otters have housing woes.
My first impression of it was: “It’s actually quite big, almost the size of a small-size dog!” I would have wanted to stroke it, but held back my enthusiasm as wild animals should be left as they are, and observed from a distance. This one though, seems oblivious to people walking around.
Awww…so cute As its name suggests, the smooth-coated otter has a velvety, dark brown pelt which is well-groomed and maintained. They are often sighted in mangroves, mudflats and coastal areas such as Sungei Buloh, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin, Changi and now, Marina Bay (these must be the high-class ones).
Smooth-coated otters are generally social and live in pairs or families. They have an average length of 1.2m and weight of 11kg. It eats mainly fish, but also turtles, clams and snails. The Smooth-coated otter is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.
Oh hello, it’s a boy :)
I’m suppoused to be observing from a distance, don’t come near meeeee! lol
Awwww….are you asking for a belly rub?
Okok I geddit…I shall leave you to indulge in your siesta When I went home to research more about the otter, I was heartened to learn that he has set up home at Marina Bay with his partner and rearing 5 pups! Well, I guess everyone has to adapt and with decreasing forested areas, setting up a home in an urban garden may not be a bad idea afterall. Afterall, it’s prime land that even I want to stay in, and there is an ample supply of fish – heard that it gave the Gardens staff a scare when it was caught lurking around the koi pond…you do have pretty exquisite taste Mr Otter! :D Hope to see you around sometime soon….