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Common names: 

English: Southern river otter

Spanish: Huillín

German: Südlicher Flussotter


Scientific name: 

Lontra provocax



Length: 1.10 - 1.20 m 

Weight: 10 - 14 kg 


Habitat and distribution:

The southern river otter is native to southern South America. In Chile this species is present from Colchagua Province (39°S) to the Strait of Magallanes. In Argentina, the southern river otter is found from Neuquen Province to Tierra del Fuego. This otter is predominantly a freshwater species occurring in lakes, rivers and streams, but in southern Chile it regularly lives in marine habitats. They seem to like rocky coasts and channals protected from waves backed by strips of coastal vegetation. These features, as well as reduced human disturbance, are thought to be favourable for the establishment of dens.



Southern river otters have been hunted extensively for their pelts for hundreds of years. Hunting alone is thought to be the major cause of their currently low population numbers and endangered conservation status. The distribution of L. provocax is limited by habitat degradation and human disturbance. Riparian forests and rivers in which these otters are mostly found have been disturbed and altered by human presence. Dam and road construction, as well as stream canalisation and drainage for agriculture destroy many acres of habitat for this species.


Suggested references:

-Medina-Voegl, G. (1996). Status and protection of southern river otter (Lutra provocax) in central south of Chile. Filial Valdivia, Project FZS 1104/1990. Comite Nacional pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora (CODEFF).

-Sepulveda, M., Franco, M., Medina, G., Fasola, L. & Alvarez, R. (2008). Lontra provocax. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>.

Southern river otter

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