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The Saro is properly called a Giant Otter

Posted in Animals, Nature, Wildlife on Friday, 31 May 2013

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This edited article about the Giant otter originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 275 published on 22 April 1967.

Saro, picture, image, illustration

The Saro or Giant Otter by K Lilly

The Giant Otter, or Saro, is found in the slow-moving rivers of Central South America.

It is by no means uncommon, and is found in large numbers in the Amazon, Essequibo, Rio Negro, the Paran√° and their tributaries.

Of the seventeen species of freshwater otter and one sea otter, the Giant Otter is by far the largest, with an overall length of five to six feet. Some large specimens measure as much as seven feet.

The Giant Otter has a rather small nose set high on a typically broad head. Its long body is supported on very short, powerful legs, and it has round, well-webbed feet with five claws on each foot. There is a ridge, resembling a keel, along the underside of its tail. This is probably to assist it in manoeuvring its large body more efficiently in the water.

Although magnificently built for swimming, the Giant Otter is not at all well suited for spending much time on dry land. Its progress there is restricted to a series of rather awkward, shuffling humps, more reminiscent of the movements of a seal than of an otter.

Otters are usually solitary and nocturnal in habit, but the Giant Otter is neither. It prefers a more social existence, hunting and playing in groups by daylight. It feeds on fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and small birds and animals which it catches either in the water or at its edge.

Although very shy creatures, Giant Otters adapt themselves quite well to captivity.

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