GIANT RIVER OTTER, SLEEPING IN TINY BOAT
One of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics having been hunted to near extinction for their silky pelts. Habitat degradation and loss is the greatest current threat. The giant otter is also rare in captivity; in 2003, only 60 animals were being held.
It is the longest member of the weasel
family, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 m
(5.6 ft). Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species,
with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The
groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely
cohesive and cooperative.
Although generally peaceful, the species is
territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. The giant
otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. It is the noisiest otter species, and distinct vocalizations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggressiveness, and reassurance. Source