Area of zoo
Pink Zone
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Scientific name
Aonyx cinereus
South east Asia
Freshwater wetlands and mangrove swamps

Asian short-clawed otter facts

Two Asian short-clawed otters at London Zoo

What otters will I see at London Zoo? 

London Zoo is home to Asian short-clawed otters. Matilda (or Tilly) and Pip came to London Zoo in 2019 and Matilda gave birth to two otter pups in April 2020

The species is also known as Asian small-clawed otters or oriental small-clawed otters. 

What do Asian short-clawed otters look like? 

These otters are the smallest of thirteen species of otter. These small otters, as their name suggests, have short claws that reach no further than their digits. These allow them to use their paws to effectively feel for food, such as crustaceans, in muddy banks. Extremely dexterous, Asian short-clawed otters catch their prey with their partially-webbed paws instead of with their mouth (unlike other otters).  

The otters are also streamlined with flattened tails that they use to propel them through the water. Otters' eyes are designed so that they can see equally as well in water as out.

Incredibly, young otters do not open their eyes until they are 40 days old, taking their first swim after about nine weeks old.

What do Asian short-clawed otters eat? 

You will often see these otters eating freshwater shrimps, crabs, mussels, frogs and snails. 

What threats do Asian short-clawed otters face in the wild?

Asian short-clawed otters are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. They are under threat from water pollution, hunting, deforestation and habitat destruction.

Visit our Asian short-clawed otters at London Zoo

Two Asian short-clawed otters at London Zoo

Book your London Zoo ticket today

Asian short-clawed otter facts

Asian short-clawed otters can hold their breathe underwater for up to 4 minutes at a time - and they can even smell underwater to detect their prey. 

London Zoo Newsletter
Get the latest updates about exciting animal news from the Zoos, upcoming events, experiences, offers