Teeth, tails and tums all checked with otterly great vets

Adelaide Zoo’s romp of Asian Small-clawed Otters received a check up in the Animal Health Centre with veterinarian David McLelland.

“We have a group of six Asian Small-clawed Otters at Adelaide Zoo and several were due for contraceptive implants and vaccination. We took the opportunity to carry out general health checks, including a blood tests, a dental exam, and xrays,” said David.

“The first on the table was Kalaya, mum to four offspring at Adelaide Zoo. The six year old was in good condition but a few of her teeth needed a descaling to prevent them from decaying.

“Otters love to eat fish and use their claws to help clean their teeth. While Kalaya had done a great job of caring for her teeth she had missed a bit, so we helped her out,” finished David.

Adelaide Zoo is home to six otterly adorable Asian Small-clawed Otters.

Male Bao was born on 7 July 2012 at Perth Zoo and moved to Adelaide Zoo in 2013. Female Kalaya was born on 17 March 2015 at Auckland Zoo and arrived at Adelaide Zoo in early 2017.

In February 2019, Kalaya and Bao welcomed their first litter of pups Rama and Mali, meaning King and Jasmine Flower in Thai. These pups were joined by Kalaya and Bao’s second adorable litter in March 2020 who were named Riaan and Mani, meaning Little king and Jewel.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest species of otter in the world. Asian Small-clawed Otters have distinct small claws, as their name suggests, that help them handle their prey. They’re also amphibious, being equally comfortable on land and water.

Otters are extremely agile hunters due to their speed, mainly feeding on crustaceans and molluscs, but are also known to take down prey twice their own size.

Asian Small-clawed otters use up to 12 distinct calls to interact with other group members.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are classified as vulnerable in the wild mostly due to the destruction of their habitat. Swamp forests in Asia are often converted for aquaculture, which bring otters into close proximity with humans. Otters are often killed as they’re perceived as pests that eat the prawns and fish that farmers consume. Hunting for traditional medicinal purposes as well as habitat pollution also threaten the survival of these naturally inquisitive mammals.

You can see our adorable romp of Asian Small-clawed Otters up close at Adelaide Zoo on your next visit! Visitors are asked to book tickets in advance and to follow all guidance regarding COVID safety. Go to: www.adelaidezoo.com.au/tickets


The day is here!Monarto Safari Park’s new Visitor Centre is open to the public from 9.30am. #thewildiscallinghttps://t.co/RmvY4qIIts

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.


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