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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Mustelidae (otters, Honey badger, weasel and polecat)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Laurasiatheria > Ferungulata > Ferae > Carnivora

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Subfamily: Lutrinae


Aonyx capensis (African clawless otter)

The otter’s body is elongated, sinuous and agile designed for active swimming. It depends on its acute sense of touch, when searching for prey such as crabs under stones and in crevices. Although it normally hunts by sight, the well developed sense of touch allows it to find prey in water with poor visibility. Otters are active during the early morning and the late afternoon, although they may hunt at anytime. Otters occur singly, in pairs or small family groups.


Lutra maculicollis (Spotted-necked otter)

Subfamily: Mellivorinae


Mellivora capensis (Honey badger)

Subfamily: Mustelinae


Poecilogale albinucha (African striped weasel)


Ictonyx striatus (Striped polecat)