Alan Dean Foster: Predators I Have Known - giant otter



There are river otters, and clawless otters, and sea otters, and then there is the giant otter of South America. Six feet long and up to eighty pounds in weight, it is a denizen of the rainforest that is nobody's pool pet. I hold immense respect for any creature whose principal diet is piranha, and who munches solid bone with as much gusto as flesh. Once nearly hunted to extinction for their pelts, giant otters are making a limited but measureable comeback throughout their range, even returning to rivers from which they were originally exterminated.

Cross a seal with a river otter, brush on some canine features, and you have the giant otter. The result is every bit as cute and cuddly-looking as your average otter. It's just important to remember that this kind is the only one that is entirely capable of treating your forearm the way you would a fried chicken drumstick.