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Gang Of Otters Harasses Famous Tailless Crocodile At Sungei Buloh, Surrounds It On All Sides

Otter Gang Harasses Famous Crocodile Named Tailless At Sungei Buloh

In recent years, otters have become iconic animals in Singapore, once even repping the country in a Google doodle. The saltwater crocodile, on the other hand, is more elusive but calls our country home just the same.

Facebook user Bernard Seah had the chance to see both creatures in action at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and captured the scene of a family of otters harassing a tailless crocodile known to many as Tailless.

The otters used their agility and pack tactics to avoid Tailless’ snapping jaws while disturbing it with nibbles and bites.

Eventually, the furry mustelids decided to leave the crocodile alone and retreated into the waters.

Otters attempt to intimidate saltwater crocodile Tailless

Bernard, who also goes by the ‘OtterGrapher’, took the video during a crocodile outreach session on 28 Oct.

An NParks volunteer for over 10 years, he held the session at the wetland reserve’s Main Bridge. From there, Bernard and other animal lovers spotted the male saltwater, or estuarine, crocodile ‘Tailless’ lying on a sandbar.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Named as such due to the missing tail, Tailless is perhaps Singapore’s most famous crocodile. With its tail, it would measure over four metres long.

Bernard told MS News that Tailless either lost its tail to another croc as a juvenile or more likely that it simply hatched deformed.

Despite Tailless’ size and power, a group of otters showed up on the sandbar as well and immediately attempted to drive the reptile off.

They reared briefly onto their hind legs and made various noises.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Otters nibble on tail stump of crocodile

Eventually, one braver otter waded into the water towards the croc’s tail. An unamused Tailless lashed around with a loud splash of water, causing the otters to flee.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Tailless pursued them for a short distance, but the swift otters quickly made it a safe distance away.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

“What did they expect?” a chuckling onlooker commented.

Despite the fierce display, the otters refused to back down. Quickly, they moved to surround the larger apex predator.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

While others distracted Tailless from the front, one nibbled at the crocodile’s tail stump. The angry reptile lashed backwards, sending the offending otter scampering away.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

The bevvy of otters then coalesced around the reptile’s rear and once more bit at its tail stump.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Using strength in numbers, the otter family attempted to intimidate the croc. Tailless watched them, unmoving and unfazed by their tactics.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Eventually, the otters gave up, retreating into the water, perhaps to find another spot. Preferably one without a huge, temperamental, tailless crocodile.

Several onlookers let out cheers for Tailless, who stood his ground and kept his spot from the otters.

Source: Bernard Photojournals on Facebook

Interactions between otters & crocodiles rarely end tragically

Bernard told MS News that he had previously personally seen otters and crocodiles interacting. He shared a photo of the first of such sightings from Apr 2015.

It showed four otters bothering a small crocodile from behind, one opening its mouth to take a bite at its tail.

Image courtesy of Bernard Seah

He said that the encounters rarely ended in tragedy for either party and that usually, the crocodile would swim away.

One of our articles earlier in the year showed this happening, when a lone brave otter drove a crocodile off a sandbar at Sungei Buloh.

The two animals don’t exclusively interact on sandbars either. Another photo Bernard shared from 2022 showed a huge crocodile, jaws wide open, facing off with an otter in the water.

Image courtesy of Bernard Seah

Bernard will hold another crocodile outreach session on 12 Nov, from 4pm to 5.30pm, at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s Main Bridge. No registration is required.

The session will surely be of great interest to animal lovers who wish to catch another awesome nature encounter, or simply just to learn more about our diverse wildlife.

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Featured image adapted from Bernard Photojournals on Facebook.

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