Giant River Otters on the river bank. Cruising along the Paraguay River in Brazil’s Northern Pantanal we could see lots of activity on the river bank ahead. Giant River Otters! As we approached slowly, the otters ignored us and got on with their business. We were almost certainly near their holt and they were scent marking the river bank. It was clearly also an opportunity for members of the family to interact and strengthen the bonds between them. It certainly provided plenty of entertainment for us!
Giant River Otters are big! They grow up to 1.8m in length and can weigh 35kg. Sleek and muscular, they are very impressive predators easily catching fish. They are highly social animals living in family groups. They can be very aggressive to neighbouring Giant River Otter families. These striking animals are also highly vocal.
The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wet land and flooded grasslands. Whilst mostly located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it also extends into Mato Grosso and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of up to 195,00 square kilometres (75,000 square miles) and some 80%of the floodplains are submerged during the rainy season. It is a remarkable place.