Was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve observing a Striated Heron run about a small island chasing bugs near a large snoozing reptile with sharp pointy teeth when there was a commotion towards the right. The heron had also stopped in its tracks and looked to the right as if with some concern that the tranquility of the morning was about to be interrupted. I panned right to see some dark slithery shapes crawling up the slope.
These were two smooth-coated otters out for a morning (it was about 7.45am) swim through the reserve. The basking saltwater crocodile immediately sprang to life doing a 180' in a split micro-second snapping at one of the otters when it came too close to it. Otters and crocodiles do not share a cordial relationship and frequently gnash teeth at each other.
The two otters, with the smaller one doing most of the work, taunted the crocodile (guesstimate at slightly over 2 m long) repeatedly. Both otters kept 'barking' at the crocodile whilst moving around the crocodile. The larger (quite obviously a male) otter appeared to keep a slightly wider minimum distance from the crocodile as compared to the smaller otter. After getting taunted quite a bit, the crocodile lunged at the closer smaller otter moving about two feet forward in a flash.
Both otters then decided they had had enough and slinkered off to the far side of the island before disappearing under the water submarining (notice the trail of bubbles appearing under the water) further into the northern corner of the pond leaving the crocodile to resume its siesta.
These two otters were first seen about a month before. They have been seen occasionally visiting various seawater and freshwater ponds in the reserve. They seem especially sensitive to human contact and generally stay away from people. This was unlike another lone otter also occasionally seen in the reserve which seemed relatively unbothered when in close proximity to people. There had been a family of 7 otters (2 adults and 5 pups) in the reserve at the start of the year but this family disappeared shortly after the year started. It is possible that the two otters seen in the clip are from that group of five. If so, one might wonder what happened to the rest of that group. The larger male otter had a noticeable wound on the rear right of its tail near its rear right leg. Perhaps that was received from another close encounter with a crocodile.
Read more about these wonderful animals here :
and also about the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve : sbwr.org.sg