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It is found in coastal regions from southern India to the Malay Peninsula and southern China.
It is the smallest and least aquatic otter species in existence. Its body is flexible enough to allow grooming of almost the entire body. It has 5 toes on each leg, joined by an interdigital membrane that benefits it for swimming. It is very dexterous manually and uses its front legs to feel mollusks and crustaceans in rocks, vegetation and mud, instead of its mouth. Its teeth are also well prepared to chew through the hard shell of crustaceans
This otter lives in family groups of up to 20 individuals with an alpha breeding pair. Couples can have two litters of 1 to 6 offspring per year and gestation is approximately 60 days.
Their main threat is habitat destruction due to deforestation and agriculture