Distribution and habitat choice of Cape clawless otters Aonyx capensis in South Africa
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Cape clawless otters, Aonyx capensis,are widely distributed in South Africa, as elsewhere on the continent. They occur in a wide variety of environments and most aquatic habitats, from freshwater lakes to the marine littoral,and even in episodic rivers in arid areas, provided freshwater sources are adequate and sufficient food is available. This animal is not much affected by turbid water as it locates prey by touch, and usually forages close to shores or banks. Evidence of presence in given localities and habitats, distributed over a large area of the Northern,Western, and Eastern Cape provinces, was deduced from signs (faecal deposits or distinctive tracks) on land. Accepting the inherent pitfalls of this approach we nevertheless feel using it is acceptable for a first approximation of habitat preferences over a large geographical area. Results point to areas with dense reed beds and a rocky substrate on banks being used most intensively, probably on account of a localized high food biomass.
- RESEARCH: Somers M