Otters Around Singapore: Otters fight crocodile and other sightings

·3-min read
Otters in Singapore. (Photos: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images, Jimmy Wong)
Otters in Singapore. (Photos: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images, Jimmy Wong)

Singapore's urban and green environment is home to a rich abundance of beautiful wildlife that we don't often see. In our Wildlife Around Singapore series, we share interesting flora and fauna that have been sighted around the island.

Singapore's otters, while beloved by many, have gotten a bit of a bad rap this week after a man was attacked and injured by the Zouk family of otters in Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The British national said the otters appeared to be triggered by a jogger who ran towards them, and may have attacked him after mistaking him for the runner.

Local otter-watching enthusiasts and animal experts say that otters rarely bite humans unless people get too close or they feel threatened. The animals may behave defensively if they feel that their young are in danger.

Otter enthusiast group OtterCity said the "Zouk otters" had been living in Singapore Botanic Gardens for two years, and that the otter family has shown high tolerance for humans, despite often being surrounded by curious crowds.

"We have been watching otters in Singapore for many years," said OtterCity. "Our tip for not getting bitten all these years is simply this – respect their space."

This special edition of Wildlife Around Singapore is dedicated to the otters of Singapore, which are estimated to number around 150 currently.

We can all learn to co-exist peacefully with wildlife around us. We have to, if we are to become a City in Nature as is the government's stated goal.

Otter watchers in Singapore often coin names for particular families of otters based on the location that they originate from. The Zouk otters came from Singapore River near the old Zouk nightclub and later moved to their current home in Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The Zouk otters are currently one of the most visible families since they live in a popular park. Many of the pictures you'll see below are of the Zouk otters.

Jimmy Wong recently shared the amazing pictures below of an otter clashing with a crocodile in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. He told us that he took the photos three years ago, although at that time he merely shared the photos with friends instead of in a public Facebook group.

Otters are feisty animals and have been known to attack other larger predators in their territories.

Wong said two otters were harassing the crocodile, but they left the reptile alone after a while. An otter had bitten the crocodile on its tail, causing it to spin its head around, which created the sprays of water seen in the photos.

An interaction between an otter and a crocodile in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Park, Singapore, in 2018. (Photo: Jimmy Wong)
(Photo: Jimmy Wong)
An interaction between an otter and a crocodile in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Park, Singapore, in 2018. (Photo: Jimmy Wong)
(Photo: Jimmy Wong)
An interaction between an otter and a crocodile in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Park, Singapore, in 2018. (Photo: Jimmy Wong)
(Photo: Jimmy Wong)

The above isn't the only record of otter-reptile conflict we have. Here's a video of a monitor lizard whipping an otter with its tail after it got too close for the lizard's comfort:

An otter feeding on a puffer fish in Singapore. Photo posted on 30 Nov 2021. (Photo: KK Tan)
An otter feeding on a puffer fish in Singapore. (Photo: KK Tan)
The
The "Zouk family" of smooth-coated otters in Singapore Botanic Gardens. (Photo: Ottercity)

Did you know that otters eat each other's poop? Well, here's video evidence courtesy of the Zouk otters:

We'll leave you with these images of the adorable Zouk pups:

Otter pups from the
Otter pups from the "Zouk family" of smooth-coated otters in Singapore Botanic Gardens. (Photo: Sylvia Loh)
Otter pups from the
Otter pups from the "Zouk family" of smooth-coated otters in Singapore Botanic Gardens. (Photo: Otter Channel)

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