How do you identify an otter?

I assume that these posters I’ve put up brought you to my humble otter blog,


SO before you go on to record your otter sighting (or if you’re just here out of interest), here’s a short tutorial to confirm the sighting of the animal. They’re often mistaken for other animals such as the moniter lizard which may appear to be an otter to an untrained eye.

There is only one otter in this picture! Photo: Ria Tan

There is only one otter in this picture! (Photo: Ria Tan)

There are two things to look for in an otter,

1. Round, brown, glistening head out of water.

Photo: Ubin

Photo: Ubin

Photo: Shirley Ng

Photo: Shirley Ng

Unlike the moniter, which has a scaley head and pointed snout!

2. It swims dorso-ventrally (ie. up and down movement)

A monitor lizard swims laterally, meaning, side-to-side. Notice that it keeps its head above the water the entire time. An otter will usually bob its head up and down, surfacing for breaths.

If you are now confident of your otter sighting, record your sighting HERE!

Tell your friends, spread the word!

One thought on “How do you identify an otter?

  1. I spotted one otter on 3 September swimming to the right of the jetty off of House 1 in Chek Jawa at 12:30PM.

    I spotted another otter (possible the same one) on 3 September in the mangrove swamps near the shelter on the mangrove boardwalk in Chek Jawa at 11:30PM.

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