Mysuru: A pair of Smooth Coated Otters from Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Surat Municipal Zoo, Muglisara, Surat in Gujarat have found a new home at Mysuru Zoo. A male and a female Otter was procured from the Surat Municipal Zoo under Animal Exchange Programme approved by the Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi, in exchange for a male and a female Striped Hyena and a male and a female Black Swan from the Mysuru Zoo.
The Otter pair arrived at Mysuru Zoo on July 2, according to a press release from the Executive Director, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Mysuru.
Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is a species of otter, the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale. The species is found in most of the Indian Subcontinent and eastwards to Southeast Asia. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otters. They may be distinguished from other species of otters by a more rounded head and a hairless nose in the shape of a distorted diamond. The tail is flattened in contrast to the more rounded tails of other species. The legs are short and strong, with large webbed feet bearing strong claws. They have unusually short and sleek fur; this is dark to reddish brown along the back, while the underside is light brown to almost grey in colour.
Smooth-coated otters are found in areas where fresh water is plentiful — wetlands and seasonal swamps, rivers, lakes, and rice paddies. They may be found in almost any suitable habitat, but are sympatric with other species. They avoid smaller streams and canals in favour of larger bodies of water. They have adapted to life in an aqueous habitat, but are nonetheless comfortable on land, and may travel long distances overland in search of suitable habitats.