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SSP/TAG: Giant Otter SSP                                        DATE: 12 February 2004



Name: Jan Raines                        e-mail:


Address: The Dallas World Aquarium

                 1801 North Griffin Street

                 Dallas, TX  75202                                                                        


Phone: (day)            214-720-2224   (evening) 214-221-4394   (FAX) 214-999-0846


MORBIDITY (Significant illnesses/issues facing this species this year):

This is a relatively new SSP-still compiling data. 






MORTALITY (Causes of death in this year):

Cause of Death                                                 SB #               Sex                 Age






BIRTHS:  Males:                                                                         Females:

Number of pairs recommended for breeding:

Number of pairs bred:

Number of births:

            MALES:  mother-reared:                                    hand-reared:

            FEMALES: mother-reared:                                    hand-reared:



ANESTHESTIC PROTCOLS (Please list successful and unsuccessful protocols):

Ketamine/Xylazine has been used with limited success-protocol currently under review




VACCINE RECOMMENDATIONS (Vaccine reactions, new vaccines to be considered):

Under review-determining actual disease risk within wild and captive population



CONTRACEPTION (Methods used, successes, failures):

No contraceptive method has been used in this species to date besides separation.



A survey is being formulated currently to send to all institutions and researchers that work with Pteronura brasiliensis asking for specifics as to diet, vaccination protocols, mortality, etc…


Fecal Hormone Study in conjunction with Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife at Cincinnati Zoo spearheaded by Helen Bateman.




Diet currently under review in particular proper vitamin supplementation.





  • Important to train these animals for veterinary procedures
  • Crate training for transports
  • Standardize necropsy protocol











For those individuals interested in this species would recommend joining mailing list for “Friends of the Giant River Otter”, an e-mail newsletter sponsored by the Frankfurt Zoological Society.





Autuori M.P. & Deutsch,  L.A. (1997). Contribution  to the Knowledge of the Giant Brazilian Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis  (Gmelin 1788), Carnivora, Mustelidae - Rearing in  Captivity. Zool. Garten N.F., 47 (1997) 1, S.; pp. 1-8


Baker, A.J.; Baker, A.M.  and Thompson, K.V. 1996.  Parental Care in Captive Mammals. Pp.497- 512. In: Wild Mammals  in Captivity - Principles and Techniques (D.G. Kleiman, M.E.  Allen, K.V. Thompson and S. Lumpkin, eds.). University of Chicago  Press: Chicago.


Bartmann, W. 1996. International census of the giant river  otter (P. brasiliensis) in captivity (1996). Tierpark  Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany. Unpublished report.


B.M.E.L.F. (Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft  und Forsten (Hrsg.) 1996. Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung  von Säugetieren. Bonn, Deutschland.


Colares, E.P. & Best,  R.C. (1991). Blood  parameters of Amazon otters (Lutra longicaudis, Pteronura  brasiliensis) Carnivora, Mustelidae. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.  Vol. 99A, No. 4; pp. 513-515


Dunstone N. (1998). Adaptations to the semi-aquatic habit  and habitat. In: Behaviour and Ecology of Riparian Mammals. Dunstone  N. and Gorman M. (1998). Symposia of the Zoological Society of  London 71. Cambridge University Press. pp. 391.


Duplaix-Hall, N. (1972). Notes on maintaining river  otters in captivity. Inter. Zoo Yrbk. 12:178-181.

Duplaix - Hall, N. (1975). River otters in captivity:  a review. In Martin, R.D. (ed.), Breeding Endangered Species  in Captivity, Academic Press, London; pp. 315-327

Duplaix, N. (1982) Contribution a l'Ecologie at a l'Ethologie  de Pteronura brasiliensis (Carnivora, Lutrinae): Implications  Evolutives. Doctorat Thesis, Univ. of Paris-Sud, 352 pp.


Flügger, M. von (1997). Haltung, Zucht und Erkrankungen  von Riesenottern (Pteronura brasiliensis) in Carl Hagenbecks  Tierpark. Verh. ber. Erkrg. Zootiere (1997) 38; pp. 125-130


Foster-Turley, P. 1990. Otters in Captivity. In: Otters:  An Action Plan for their Conservation (Foster-Turley, P., Macdonald,  S. and Mason, C., eds.). International Union for Conservation  of Nature.


Gutleb, A.C., Schenck, C. & Staib, E. (1994). Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)  at Risk? Total Mercury and Methylmercury Levels in Fish and Otter  Scats, Peru. Ambio Vol. 26 No. 8, Dec. 1997; pp. 511 - 514


"Genealogical Meeting on Giant Otters in Captivity in  Brazil", lectures/workshop discussions, December 3-4,  1998. Jardim Zoologico de Brasília , Brasilia, Brazil.  Daniel Louzada da Silva and Dr. Claudio Valladares-Padua, conference  organizers.


Gómez, J.R., Jorgenson, J. & Valbuena, R. (1999).  Report on the Rehabilitation and Release of Two Giant River  Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) Pups in the Bita River  (Vichada, Colombia). IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 16(2)1999;  pp. 86-89


Hagenbeck, C. & Wünnemann, K. (1992). Breeding  the Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Carl Hagenbecks  Tierpark. New Developments in the Zoo World, Internat. Zoo Yb.  (1992) 31; pp. 240-245

Kleinschmidt, T., Braunitzer, G. & Scheill, H.-G. (1989).  Carnivora: the primary structure of the giant otter (Pteronura  brasiliensis, Mustelidae) hemoglobin. Biol. Chem. Hoppe-Seyler  370(4) 1989; pp. 303-308

Kranz, K. (Oct. 1996). Suggested Design Criteria for Giant  Otter Enclosures.; 4 pp.


Leonards, P.E. G (1997) PCBs in Mustelids - analysis,  food chain transfer and critical levels. Academic thesis. Vrije  Universiteit, Amsterdam; 210 pp.


Lewis, J. C.M., 1995. Veterinary Considerations. Pp.203-221.  In: Husbandry Handbook for Mustelids (J. Partridge, ed.). Association  of British Wild Animal Keepers.


Nehring, A. (1901) EinigeNotzen uber die Lutra (Pteronura)  paranensis des niesigen Zoologoscjer Garten. Sber. Ges. Naturf.  Freude Berlin, 1901: 133-135.


Pimentel, T.L., Reis, M.L. & Passerino, A.S.M. Mustelidae  ­ Biology, Management and Medicine. In : Biology, Management  & Medicine of South American Wild Animals, Fowler, M.E. &  Cubas, Z.S. (eds.).


Salvo Souza, R. and Best, R. 1982. Unpublished Report.  Contribuicao sobre o comportamento da ariranha (Pteronura  brasiliensis Gmelin 1788) em cativeiro. Mamiferos  Aquaticos INPA, Manus. AM. Contribuicao no. 34 da Divisao de  Mamiferos Aquaticos, INPA Manaus.


Schenck, C., Staib, E. & Yasseri, A.M. (1995). Unterwasserlaute  bei Riesenottern (Pteronura brasiliensis). Z. Saugetierkunde  60; pp. 310-313


Schenck, C. and Staib, E., Storch I. (1997). Domestic  animal disease risks for Peruvian Giant Otters (Pteronura  brasiliensis) IUCN Veterinary Specialist Group Newsletter,  No. 14, p. 7-8.

Scheill, H.-G. & Gunther, A. (1984). Elektrophoretischer  Vergleich einiger Erythrocyten-Enzyme der Otter Lutra Lutra  (L. 1758), Lutra canadensis (Schreber 1776) und Pteronura  brasiliensis (Gmelin, 1788). Saügetierkundliche Mitt.  32(1) 1984; pp. 63-66


Skeldon, P.C. (1961). Exhibiting Aquatic Mammals - Brazilian  Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Toledo Zoo. Internat.  Zoo Yb. Vol.3, 1961; pp. 30-31


Sykes, S. 1998. "Historical census, management, and  rearing success of giant otters (P. brasiliensis) in zoos:  Need for an international studbook." Lecture for "Genealogical  Meeting on Giant Otters in Captivity in Brazil", Jardim  Zoologico de Brasília, Brazil: Dec. 2-4,1998.


Sykes, S. 1997-1999. "South American Giant Otter  (Pteronura brasiliensis) Husbandry, Management, and Historical  Census Survey." Zoological Society of Philadelphia, PA,  USA. Unpublished report.


Sykes-Gatz, S. 2000. "Giant otters (P. brasiliensis)  in zoos: An overview and need for an international studbook."  Lecture for "Symposium-Haltung und Zucht des Riesenotters  (P. brasiliensis)", 17.06.00. Dortmund Zoo, Germany.


Sykes-Gatz, S. (2001). Husbandry and Management of the  Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). Münster: Schüling,  2001, ISBN 3-930962-03-9; 30 pp.

Sykes-Gatz, S. (in press). Pteronura brasiliensis  in Captivity/Studbook: An International Historical Overview  and Management Recommendations. For: Otters: An Action Plan for  their Conservation (2001). International Union for Conservation  of Nature (IUCN), Otter Specialist Group, Otter in Captivity, Sub-chapter 2.6.11.

Symposium - Haltung und Zucht des Riesenotters (Pteronura brasiliensis),  lectures/discussions, June 17, 2000. Dortmund Zoo, Dortmund,  Germany. Dr. Wolf Bartmann, conference organizer.


Trebbau, P. 1972. Notes on the Brasilian giant  otter (P. brasiliensis) in captivity. Zool. Garten 41:152-156.


Trebbau, P. (1978). Some observations on the Mating Behaviour  of the Brazilian Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis).  Zool. Garten N. F., Jena 48 (1978) 2/3, S.; pp. 187-188


Worley, K. E. and Hare, V. J. 1995. An overview of the  1995 Environmental Enrichment Conference. The Shape of Enrichment,  vol. 4, No. 4, November.


Wünnemann, K. 1995. Giant Otter Husbandry. Pp.181-184.  In: Husbandry Handbook for Mustelids (J. Partridge, ed.). Association  of British Wild Animal Keepers.


Wünnemann, K. (1995). Breeding Giant Otters (Pteronura  brasiliensis) in Germany. Habitat 11 - Proceedings VI International  Otter Colloquium, Pietermaritzburg. Reuther, C. & Rowe-Rowe,  D. (eds.); pp. 75-77

Zeller, F. (1960). Notes on the Giant Otter (Pteronura  brasiliensis Zimm) at Cologne Zoo. Internat. Zoo Yb. Vol.2,  1960; pp. 81


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