Sighting of Smooth Coated Otters at Subang Lake A Good Sign
Robust environment and plenty of food source key factors behind the appearance of Smooth Coated Otters in Subang Ria Park, says USM School of Biological Sciences professor
SMOOTH coated otters, one of four species of otters that exist in the country have now taken refuge in one of the lakes at Subang Ria Park in Subang Jaya.
Five individuals have been spotted frequently frolicking and feeding in the freshwater lake over the last few months by residents who jog around the lake.
“We spotted the otters in the water when we walked around the lake recently. We have been using this park for decades and this was our first time seeing otters in the water,” Dr Yap Weng Fatt, a local resident said.
Dr Yap notified SJEcho of his findings and even provided some videos of the otters in the water. Based on this info, a team was dispatched to the lake to try and spot the otters.
It wasn’t too difficult a task as several residents pointed out the location of the otters when we arrived at the lake.
According to USM School of Biological Sciences Professor Dr Shahrul Anuar otters are totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 in Malaysia.
“This means that hunting or keeping otters as pets without permits is punishable by a maximum fine of RM100,000 and/or a maximum jail sentence of three years in Peninsular Malaysia.”
“Don’t disturb them. Don’t try and feed them especially with human food. Just observe them from a distance and enjoy their presence,” he said.
Dr Shahrul said otters were robust species and can thrive well in human areas. He said otters needed clean water bodies and enough food sources.
“Otters look for clean water habitats. So please keep the environment at the lake clean. Do not throw rubbish into the lake. Do not attempt to feed the otters.”
“This is a pat on the back for the owner of the park. They have done well in caring for the environment and this has attracted otters to the lake,” he added.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have photos or videos of the otters at Subang Lake, send them to us at 012-3288557. Please remember, do not disturb the otters while you are taking photos or videos. Keep at a safe distance and do not attempt to lure them with food. If you spot anyone acting suspiciously near the otters, call the police at 03-5633 2222 and report it immediately.
Smooth–Coated Otters are omnivores and they are known to eat insects, crustaceans, water rats, birds, frogs, eggs and fish.
The smooth-coated otter is a relatively large otter, from 7 to 11 kg in weight and 59 to 64 cm in head-body length, with a tail 37 to 43 cm long. It is distinguished from other otter species by its more rounded head and a hairless nose in the shape of a distorted diamond.
Its tail is flattened, in contrast to the more rounded tails of other otters. Its legs are short and strong, with large webbed feet bearing strong claws. As its name suggests, it has unusually short and sleek fur; this is dark to reddish brown along the back, while the underside is light brown to almost grey in color. Females have two pairs of teats.
They communicate through vocalisations such as whistles, chirps, and wails.