Wednesday, June 28, 2017

By J.E. Rogers

I was totally confused when I began researching this animal. Is it an otter or is it a civet? Finally, after reading article after article, I came across a statement that seemed to close the chapter on this question. The Otter Civet is a member of the Viverridae family of carnivores.

The following quote is taken from a book entitled, Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, by Roland Kays, Ph.D. And I quote: “The Otter Civet is a remarkable carnivore adapted to hunt aquatic prey. They have evolved from the civet family, but acquired otter-like traits.”

So, it’s a civet, but has some attributes of the otter. There’s no mistaking the fact that it’s a different looking animal, and it’s endangered. So, this week we’ll take a look and learn a bit about the Otter Civet.

The Otter Civet can grow to a length between twenty-two and twenty-six inches and can weigh up to eleven pounds. The tail can be five to eight inches long. Their fur is light at the bottom and dark at the top. They have numerous, lengthy whiskers.

Otter Civets are semi-aquatic, nocturnal animals. The feed along the banks of streams and rivers looking for fish, mollusks or crayfish. Occasionally, they eat small mammals and birds. It has adapted the ability to close its ears underwater. Its nostrils, which are located dorsally, have flaps which it can close when swimming underwater. Its long whiskers help the Otter Civet to navigate underwater.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Although the Otter Civet’s tail does not allow it to move well in water, and it has only slight webbing between its toes, it, nevertheless, can be found hunting in water. It lies in wait with its eyes and nostrils above the surface, much like a crocodile.

Image credit:

Although their range is large, covering the peninsular of Malaysia, southern Thailand, Sumatra, and Borneo, they are rare throughout that range. The Otter Civet’s greatest threat is the loss of their wetland homes to human development which causes water pollution via siltation mines, and use of pesticides.

Unfortunately, not a lot is known about this unusual animal and as a result, I could not find a good video for you. It is, however, being studied and more information will hopefully come to light soon.

If you would like to learn more about the Otter Civet, visit the following sites:


Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland and
One Hot Mess, A Child’s Environmental Fable
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