Palawan Asian small clawed otters
Baby otter pup nursing
Rescued Asian small clawed otters in Palawan
We live in Palawan, in the Philippines, one of the most biodiverse islands in the world. Last year one of the villagers brought me a wriggling sack with high pitched squeeks coming from it! When I opened it up, there were 3 furry little creatures inside with their eyes and ears still shut like puppies. I immediately knew they were otters, since I had seen photos of them before. The story is that villagers were clearing land near the mangroves and the otter mother was killed accidentally. They then heard these dolphin like high pitched squeals and found the 3 week old pups. Otter babies are called pups.
I had absolutely no idea what to do with them or what to feed them. We went online and found several otter oganizations. We used skype to call Scotland which had a phone listed. While our friend was on the phone I went online and searched Google for how to feed baby otters. I happened to have some low lactose puppy/kitten milk on hand from previously rescuing a civet and a pangolin, so I gave them this formula and later had to add cream and probiotics to digest the cream. Otter moms have 6% higher fat content than cows milk! They needed to be nursed for 2 1/2 months with little miniature puppy bottles with small nipples and they had to be fed every 2 hours! There were many sleepless nights for me and my assistant and we took turns with the graveyard shifts. It is not easy to raise these pups. We ran out of puppy milk and couldn't find anymore in the entire town; we had to resort to non lactose human milk. In three days their fur began falling out! It was around the time of weaning so the otter organizations suggested giving them whole foods like small fish.
In the wild their diet are crabs, mud skipper fish, frogs, small lizards and mollusks. They are now 6 months old and eat 3 kilos of crabs and fish per day...that's over 6 pounds!!
"Lady Blue" a song by Tony Pollard
This artist will donate 80% of all funds to feeding the otters and for their caretakers as well. Please buy this song to help us out. It's a good song too!
Two otters and a puppy
Otter pups over the months - How fast they grow.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Too sweet, this otter pup
Learning about otters in Palawan
The hard way.
It's been hard learning to to raise and nurture the otters. But I wouldn't trade a day of it. They will be fully grown at 15 months and we and the otter organizations guiding us will apprise their ability to be released. I don't look forward to that day because of all the perils out there. Habitat loss as when their mom was killed clearing in the shores of the mangroves. Some are hunted for meat or their fur, even as pets to the illegal wildlife trade.
Asian small clawed otters are the smallest otters in the world and they are monogamous. The female has two litters of pups per year and the subsequent siblings raise the next generation from one to six per litter! They all stay together as a family unit and are always touching and calling to each other. The only time the family breaks up is when one of the parents dies or is killed, as was the case with our otter pups. They are very tactile. I haven't ever seen them groom each other but they have soft paws like a baby and are always reaching out and touching each other even while they sleep. Since I am the parent I have to spend many hours in their enclosure with them, just letting them hang out on me for reassurance and comfort.
Their main diet is crabs, other invertebrates, snails, frogs and they love mud skippers. To add to that the will eat small lizards and mice. It's a real challenge to find the right foods for them nearby and it changes with the season.
Please educate those you meet where otters live to teach them respect for these very family bonded animals. They are an environmental species which means that if they start to disappear naturally without human interaction, the environment is in trouble.
Otters swimming in a mangrove cover
Otters Versus Snake
An Otter Story
A very endearing video with a sad but hopeful end.
An Otterly Adorable Video will make your day
Otter Organizations that Helped me tremendously
- Otter Specialist Group
I cannot thank Lesley Wright enough as actually all of the women in this list for the most valuable information and moral support. The Otter Specialist Group (OSG) was founded in 1974 and is part of World Conservation (IUCN) Species Survival Commiss
- International Otter Survival Fund
Many thanks to Grace Yoxon who has given me so much moral support and good information. International Otter Survival Fund 7 Black Park, Broadford, Isle of Skye IV49 9DE, Scotland
- Tikki Hywood Trust
Many thanks from the bottom of my heart to Lisa Hywood. Founder, Managing Trustee of Tikki Hywood Trust " Through the formation of the Trust, the smaller, lesser known and often more endangered, wild species of animals are given a voice. Little is kn
Otterly cute.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Did you know Palawan had otters?
Did you know Palawan had otters?
My other Hub pages
- First Solar lit native fishing banca in Palawan, Philippines
A native fishing boat fitted with all solar lights for night fishing. All others are powered by diesel generators.
- Sustainable tropical journey
Our endeavor to use materials readily available and thus cut down on our carbon footprint.
- A rescued baby Pangolin
About a scaly anteater, also called a pangolin, being illegally harvested at an alarming and unsustainable rate.
- Our masked Asian Palm Civet
A rescued baby masked Asian Palm civet
- Wild birds and other wild things in Subic Bay Freepo...
Wild birds in our former backyard.
© 2014 Diana J. Limjoco