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Cape clawless otter

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Yves
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Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Yves » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:58 pm

This past weekend i was lucky to see my first two Cape clawless otters. I spotted them on the wier in the Sabie River at the last section it can be viewed from the tar road just before the S28 turn-off. I first noticed two crocodiles on the bank that looked very agitated. On a closer inspection i could see one of the otters was trying to bite or do something to irritate the croc. The croc was trying to grab the otter but it was too fast for it. The otters proceeded onto the concrete weir and over the other side. It was great to witness the courage of the brave otter. Unfortunatley it was a bit too far for photos. Has anyone else seen otters in the Park, as i think this sighting is very rare?

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wildtuinman
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:12 am

I came across this after reading up about the annual Pel's survey conducted along the Olifants river.

a Giant Kingfisher hovering and diving like a Pied Kingfisher behind 3 Cape Clawless Otters.


They are not commonly seen in Kruger by any means. Elsewhere they might be seen on regular intervals.
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Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:05 pm

Cape Clawless Otter – the source of the name of the Otter Trail, this shy and elusive species hunts crabs along the park’s coastline and rivers alike.

One of the five things to seek when visiting Tsitsikamma National Park the Parks home page at www.sanparks.org tells one.

To see otters in their natural habitat is for me one of those wishes one carries with one when visiting a SANPark with the hope of catching a glimpse of a rare sighting. I honestly never expected to see any on our trip mid July 2008 – after all others were always the lucky ones....

So, there we were just relaxing on the veranda of our ocenette at Storms River enjoying the last of our brekkie. My eye caught a movement in the water amongst the rocks below... a seal I thought! Oh cool! Then he was gone. No! There he was again, peering through a crevice in the rocks. Seals don’t scamper along the rocks!!! That is an otter!!!
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We followed this little fellow along the coast for probably 200m.

He met up with his buddies in a large gully and we watched as they swam around in the rough waters – often being thrown about. What a delightful group! There were five in total. They’d climb on the rocks and then be washed off. They looked so carefree. They reminded me of a group of teenage boys who were on their first adventure from home ....
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And then they were gone – diving amongst the waves.

Later that afternoon from the viewing deck near the restaurant, in the gully below, I noticed four little familiar heads bobbing about in the swirling white water.

For the next twenty or so minutes, the adventurous four kept the crowd enthralled. Workmen put down their tools, SANParks staff paused their daily tasks and everyone just watched in wonder.

The crowd had gathered at the edge of the rocks ... and the otters played to their audience. They posed for pics, dived into the ocean, climbed back onto the rocks ... like well trained performers.

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As the four teenagers swam off further into the bay without a care in the world, I turned to one of the SANParks staff and said; 'not something you see everyday?' He replied – 'no, this is front page news' :D
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arks
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Unread post by arks » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:54 pm

WoW, DB, what a spectacular sighting!! 8) And a spectacular series of pix of them, too. I've seen sea otters along the US west coast, and land otters frolicking in the snow in northern New Hampshire, but as yet, no RSA otters :( Yours are a special treat! :dance:
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Yves
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Yves » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:45 pm

Well thats amazing... :clap: the same spot i saw the two of them just over a year ago. The causeway must be part of their territory. I was at the same spot this weekend looking out for them but no luck..

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iNkwazi
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by iNkwazi » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:31 pm

Just returned from another great trip to KNP - stayed at Lower Sabie (25 - 30/7/09) in the safari tents. From our deck, we saw an otter on one of the sand banks in the middle of the river. I have video footage which I can post - if someone can tell me how to do it! Also saw one at Nkhulu picnic spot a day later which was truly special, and another sighting of CCO at LS - 3 in 3 days! Very lucky I'd say!! (Unfortunately no photos though)

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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by iNkwazi » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:56 pm

The Nkhulu sighting was quite interesting because a heron had just caught a fish when we noticed a commotion in the water - only to realise that it was an otter trying to snatch the fish from the heron. The heron had to fly away with its breakfastto escape the CCO!! :clap: Quite nice because there was a tourist standing next to us who also witnessed it. Am always happy when visitors see something different/special in our KNP! :lol:

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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by AjayB » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:04 pm

Theyre reputed to be quite fiesty animals ....Thats a bit of a tussle that.....the heron-bill spear vs the otters set of razor-gnashers!! If otters had wings , he would have been after him :lol:

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iNkwazi
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by iNkwazi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:14 pm

This a pic of the otter seen at Lower Sabie. Sorry about the poor quality - I got it off my video footage. (Have tried for days to upload the video on tinypic - unsuccessfully, so this is the best I can do!

Image

{fixed link - BGS}

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Elsa
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Elsa » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:19 am

We stayed in the Southern Drakensberg for this past long weekend and there were 4 CCO's swimming around in the little dam surrounding the cottage.
Does their diet include fish as well as we were told they only ate crustaceans?

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iNkwazi
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by iNkwazi » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:34 am

They have a taste for crabs and frogs, and less commonly eat fish. The shells of the crabs are crushed with the strong cheek teeth and everything is eaten. They also eat birds, bird's eggs and insects. (Google info)

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bishop3006
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by bishop3006 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:38 pm

They most definitely eat fish as well! That is one of the things you can id them on. CCO eats from the head, small spotted from the tail. Except barbel - both eat them from the tail. They actively hunt and catch the fish. When you've got drought and fish concentrated in shallow water otters can wreak havoc, and you see half-eaten fish everywhere. :evil:

And crabs are also an indicator of which species. CCO eats everything, including the shell/carapace. Small spotted, with their smaller mouth, don't tackle big crabs, and leave the shells. So if you see crab shells it is either small spotted, or even water mongoose, while if you see lots of crab shell remnants in the dung it is most likely CCO.
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Winny
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Winny » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:12 pm

Stayed in Tent 21 at Lower Sabie for one night only on 4th Sept - a fantastic view (must be a contender for best accommodation in the camp?) and we had great fun listening to a choir of hippo in good voice throughout much of the evening. In the morning, having packed up the gear and loaded the car, I went back onto the balcony for one last fond farewell to the view. Level with our tent towards the far side of the river I could see a disturbance - and seconds later 2 otters raced out of the water onto the bank being chased by a hippo!

The otters merrily skipped around and soon had a healthy lead, and ran back into the river, swimming downstream. A great sighting - but all the cameras, camcorder and binoculars were in the car! :wall:
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Flutterby » Thu May 06, 2010 11:47 am

In March this year we went to Kruger and one of the things on my son's wish list was a CCO. Having never seen one in all my visits to KP I kept my opinion to myself. You can imagine my shock when he spotted one on the low level bridge over the Sabie river just outside LS. :big_eyes: :dance:

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Winny
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Re: Cape clawless otter

Unread post by Winny » Thu May 06, 2010 3:19 pm

Great photos! Great sighting too! :-)
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