Tag Archives: Smooth-coated Otters

Smooth-coated Otters Part 3

Sometimes, just when you think you can regularly encounter something, Mother Nature has other plans. Since my last encounter with the otters back in September, I had made many trips to Sungei Buloh to try to observe them again. No luck whatsoever. Perhaps they have found a new home at a more inaccessible place away from the prying eyes of human beings. Or maybe they were all eaten up by water monitors and crocodiles. Who knows?

Last Sunday morning, instead of going to my usual place, I decided to have a short stroll in Pasir Ris Park. Somewhere nearby. My goal was to find the Red Junglefowl which I had photographed previously next to Sungei Tampines, which runs through the park. By the way, the Red Junglefowls are believed to be the ancestors of the domestic chickens.

Within minutes of walking along park, I heard the distinctive “cock-a-doodle-doos” of the male junglefowl. In fact I heard two different calls at two locations. They sounded like they were having a dueling competition of some sort. I managed to catch a glimpse of the closer male bird near the mangrove swamp, but I really wasn’t that motivated to trail it through. I thought, maybe I will see them again later.

I proceeded to one of the observation point that overlook Sungei Tampines. Back in July, I encountered Grey Herons that were starting to build their nests there. It has been some time and I heard that it is now a thriving heronry, with chicks growing up nicely. True enough, when I arrived, there were heron nests with adults and chicks at various stages of development.

What caught my eyes though was a figure quite far away that was bobbing in the waters of the river. It was either a monitor lizard or an otter. I took some shots and zoomed in on my camera LCD panel. It was an otter!

I monitored it as it came closer. I beckoned to some photographers there who were engrossed with the herons about the presence of the otters. Everyone switched focus. And the otter seemingly obliged by swimming to the river bank just opposite to our observation point. I took a few quick snaps.

It later moved on to another spot and I gave chase. By the time I arrived though, it decided it wanted to move to another place. Oh well, I suppose I will leave it alone, as I was pleased and pleasantly surprised to have encountered yet another otter at a different location!

Photos below. Nothing spectacular. No eating, no playing. Just a single otter.

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Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4795

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Smooth-coated Otters - IMG_4804

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Smooth-coated Otters Part 2

About a week after my first encounter with the smooth-coated otters, I was eager to go see them again. It was a weekend and I headed to Sungei Buloh with anticipation.

Walk and walk I did, but the otters were nowhere in sight. For an hour and a half, I was looking at every nook and cranny. After completing the whole route, I decided to give it one last chance and went to the spot where I last caught sight of the otters. No luck, but I heard yelping on the other side of the mangrove bank at a short distance away. Could it be them?

I did not have a clear view, as the mangrove plants were really getting in the way, but through the leaves, I could see grey figures moving and yelping away incessantly. Quickly finding an opening, I found them. Again!

Crouching at an awkward angle, I did all I could to get some decent shots. It didn’t help that I was using a new lens that did not have image-stabilization. Luckily for me, there were some usable shots.

1. Hi there!
Smooth-coated Otter

2. This time around, there are four of them!
Smooth-coated Otter

3. Group huddle
Smooth-coated Otter

4. Curiosity
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5. Everyone gets fish for dinner
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6. Serious eats
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7. Ever vigilant
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8. Watch it!
Smooth-coated Otter

9. The dive
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10. Enough eating, let’s play!

Smooth-coated Otter

Smooth-coated Otters Part 1

Smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) are medium sized otters that inhabit coastal areas such as estuaries and mangroves. Their range extends from South East Asia to India.

Although now listed as a vulnerable species, here in Singapore, there have been records of sightings of these otters in a few areas, namely in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Sungei Tampines and Pulau Ubin.

My first sighting of these creatures was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 5 September 2010. It was a pair of feeding otters. The whole thing was rather unexpected as I was not specifically looking out for them. Here are the pictures (see my Flickr account for larger sizes).

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Smooth-coated Otter

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