On the quieter beaches of Cape Town, you may be fortunate to spot a little resident wild otter in the shallow water or quickly moving across the beach to safety. Occasionally, an otter will approach dogs while walking on the beach where there’ll be a few minutes of wonderful playful interaction before the otter goes off into the waves.
This is usually our Cape clawless otter (Aonyx Capensis), an inhabitant of our rivers, wetlands and certain areas of the seashore. Clawless otters are quite unusual in that they don’t have clawed front feet and use their super-sensitive whiskers and five-fingered front paws to detect their prey in low light conditions. The otters found in seawater dive down in shallow water to hunt for crabs, small fish, rock lobster, molluscs and the occasional little inshore shy shark.
Otters are also an important part of any aquatic ecosystem and indicate good freshwater quality because, unlike seals and other sea mammals, they have no subcutaneous fat layer to keep them warm in our cold seas and need clean fresh water to drink and to rinse their fur of salt to restore insulation.
The otters found in seawater dive down in shallow water to hunt for crabs, small fish, rock lobster, molluscs and the occasional little inshore shy shark.
Creating awareness for their protection and that of their habitat will ensure their future survival.
You’ll also find smaller wild animals such as porcupine, caracal, spotted genet and water mongoose in and around the urban fringe of Cape Town.
Join Ter, the Otter Man, on a personal Otter Tracking Walk in the unspoilt nature reserve at Cape Point. Book directly via firstname.lastname@example.org, The Otter Protection Group on Facebook: @OtterprotectionAfrica, or through www.capetownmarinetours.com.
These fabulous photos of Cape clawless otters are supplied compliments of Gale McAll Photography, call 0827761940.