Conservation and life in Borneo

A sad sight at the roadside

A smooth-coated otter was found dead at the roadside on the way into work today. The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is yet another species of mammal which is on the decline, thanks to our so-called “developing” world.


The otter was a large specimen: ten and a half kilos and 125cm (4′) in length.

The animal was an adult female and was still warm when found. Its skull was crushed and its spine were was broken in several places. One of the saddest things about our finding this morning was that it was found to be lactating. Its pups would have little chance.

ARKive video - Smooth-coated otters swimming in river, then catching and eating fish

To see a slideshow of images of this species, click here.

The smooth-coated otter can be identified from others by its rounded head and a tail which is flatter than those of other species. I found this tail of great interest and took some measurements. For the first half of its length from the tip, the tail was slightly under 3 times wider than it was thick. The other half gradually got increasingly rounder and more muscular as neared the body. Like the wings of a bird, an otter’s tail is a beautiful example of evolution. I only wish I could have seen it alive rather than in this way.

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2 responses

  1. M.

    That is indeed very sad. Was it ran over by a car? 😦

    Unfortunately, the general notion of people here is to run over an animal instead of avoiding it to “prevent a more serious accident”. While there is an ounce of truth to that statement, I still don’t like the idea :-/

    March 29, 2011 at 12:46 am

  2. paulclenton

    Yes, I assume it was.

    March 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm

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