Researchers observed and recorded captive neotropical river otters in Brazil and published the first formal description of their vocal repertoire. Neotropical river otters make six sounds, characterized as chirp, squeak, chuckle, hah, growl, and scream, which are used in different social interactions. The neotropical otter is classified as near threatened by the IUCN; otters were heavily hunted for their pelts from the 1950s through the 1970s which led to local extinctions, and although they’re now protected, they still face threats from poaching, habitat destruction, water pollution and mining. Despite the limitations of recording in captivity, researchers say they hope that understanding more about otter vocalizations will help manage both captive and wild populations. What growls, chirps, chuckles and swims in the swift flowing rivers of Central and South America? A new study reveals that neotropical river otters ( Lontra longicaudis ) have a rich repertoire of sounds that they use to communicate while fighting, playing, mating and more. Researchers observed and recorded captive neotropical river otters at Projeto Lontra in Santa Catarina Island, Brazil, and characterized six distinct call types. Their findings, the first formal description of the neotropical river otters’ vocal repertoire, were published in the journal PLOS […]

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