Friday, June 20, 2008

Otters at Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve

A small group of NUS students informally went to Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve today to do a short recce for next week's guiding with the foreign students. While we were debriefing, Jeremy our TA who happened to be there as well told us there are otter sightings!

Being someone who hasn't seen otters in the wild before, I dashed out to the location and indeed there are otters! Three smooth otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) to be exact were spotted. There were avid photographers with their telescope-looking cameras that went snapping continuously like a machine gun and they got very nice photos, one even with the otter biting a fish.

Somehow, one of the otters decided to have a dip into one of the enclosed areas of the pond and after that followed some very exciting commotions as we were all taking photographs of this charismatic otter. It was going underwater most of the time, with occasional pop ups of its head.

Somehow, this otter was trying to get out of the enclosed pool and was figuring out.

Looking left and right, popping up and down, swimming here and there... wow I was excited that my hands trembled.

Interestingly, the otter decided to play smart...

by climbing over the fence and off it goes into somewhere else. Wow, what a great sighting today!

I didn't get nice photos of the otter looking face front but these two quite blur photos which I thought are cute. The photo on the right has the plant on top of the otter's head as it was popping up from the water.

According to Ria's Sungei Buloh online guide,

"Smooth Otters are the largest otters in Southeast Asia. They are named for their shorter, smoother coats which appears velvety and shining. Like other otters, they have shorter tightly packed underfur and longer guard hairs which are water repellant.

Smooth Otters like to eat fish but they eat whatever is plentiful and easy to catch. Prey include crustacea, frogs, water rats, turtles and even large birds. They may hunt as a family group, using teamwork to catch their prey.

Like other otters, Smooth Otters are excellent divers and swimmers. They close their ears and nostrils when underwater. Also like other social animals, Smooth Otters have developed complex communication involving mainly smell, but also calls.

Otters are very playful and are among the few mammals that play even as adults. Play helps youngsters develop co-ordination, and strengthens bonds within the group."

However, like other wetland creatures, Smooth Otters are threatened by habitat loss and pollution.


Ria Tan said...

WOW! How exciting! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and story.

Cross Border Limousine Service said...

Hi Kok Sheng,

I'm linking this blog from my homepage at and my personal blog at

Smooth Otter

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