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Japanese extinct animals: Japanese river otter

Animal

The Japanese river otter is said to have once lived in Japan. It is a subspecies of the Eurasian otter. It was designated as an extinct species in 2012 and has not been witnessed last in 1979. Since the habitat is limited to Japan only, it was a otter with a very limited habitat. However, in 2020, an animal that looked like a Japanese river otter was witnessed in Otsuki Town, Kochi Prefecture. However, it is not known whether this is a Japanese river otter, and it is a situation that needs investigation.

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Habitat

The Japanese otter is an otter that lived throughout Japan (from Honshu to Shikoku and Kyushu). As soon as otters were discovered after sightings were reported, they began to be widely targeted for their fur and hunted privately, resulting in them being captured like weasels. As overfishing became noticeable, their population decreased dramatically and worsened. Even now that they are extinct, experts are still conducting research on individuals.

Characteristics

It is similar to the Eurasian otter because it is a subspecies of the Eurasian otter. It is 55-85 cm long and weighs 4-11 kg. Males have a larger body than females, with a neck that is as thick as the head and a long torso, with small ears and a rounded tip. The hair on the back is dark brown, and the abdomen is light brown. The Japanese river otter lived in river basins and coastal areas. Japanese river otters prefer to act alone and do not form a flock. Japanese river otters are nocturnal and often rest during the day.

Ecology

Japanese river otters mainly eat underwater fish, shrimp and crabs. I live on the water or on land. Childcare and sleep go up to land. Japanese river otters mate underwater from spring to summer. The gestation period is about 2 months, and 2-5 animals can be born at one time. A child born will leave his nest in about two months.

Extinct species

The Japanese river otter is a otter that was once distributed throughout Japan. It was designated as a national natural monument in 1964 and as a special natural monument in 1965. However, the population has dropped sharply, and it is no longer possible to see anything that was witnessed in Kochi Prefecture in 1979. It was designated as an extinct species by the Ministry of the Environment in 2012 and has been completely extinct. However, in recent years, sightings have come out in Tochigi, Kochi, and Tsushima. In 2017, we confirmed the habitat of two animals in Tsushima. There was also information on sightings of otters in Nasu Town, Tochigi Prefecture in 2018. Furthermore, in 2020, an animal that seems to be a Japanese river otter was witnessed in Otsuki Town, Kochi Prefecture. However, it is not known whether this is a Japanese river otter, and it is a situation that needs investigation.

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