Oriental Small-Clawed Otter Skull
The Small-clawed Otter is native to southeastern Asia. The small-clawed otter is carnivorous feeding on crustaceans, mollusks and small amphibians. This intelligent species has been trained and employed by Malaysian fishermen to catch and deliver fish.
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The Oriental small-clawed otter or Aonyx cinereus feeds mainly on crabs, mudskippers and Trichogaster fish. Its diet varies seasonally. When and where available, it also catches snakes, frogs, insects, rats and rice field fish like catfish, Anabas testudineus and Channa striata.
The size of crabs found in spraints in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary ranged in carapace width from 3.9 to 17.3 in. Captive Oriental small-clawed otters or Aonyx cinereus were observed to leave shellfish in the sun so that the heat causes them to open. That way, they consume the meat without having to crush the shells.
The hindmost upper teeth (pm4 and m3) are broad and robust and are specialized for crushing the exoskeletons of crabs and other hard shelled prey. They hunt food by using their whiskers to detect movements of prey in the water.
Oriental small-clawed otter or Aonyx cinereus use their forepaws to locate and capture items rather than their mouths. Their incomplete webbing gives them a great deal of manual dexterity.
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