Giant River Otters with an enormous Tiger Catfish – Pantanal, Brazil 2022

Giant River Otters with an enormous Tiger Catfish.  There was a commotion ahead of us as we cruised along the Paraguay River in Brazil’s Northern Pantanal. A female Giant River Otter had caught a very large Tiger Catfish. Giant River Otters are fearsome predators very adept at catching fish. The catfish put up a valiant struggle but eventually succumbed: it was rather a gruesome sight! Although they live in tight family groups once they catch their prey they will not share it with other family members. A catfish of this size was very tempting to other members of the family and the female eventually lost the fish to a male otter.

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.