Portuguese Language Blog

The Ariranha Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

Today we’re going to learn about the ariranha, or giant otter, a mammal native to the Pantanal region and Amazon river basin in Brazil.


The ariranha, a mammal with an amphibious lifestyle, lives most of the time on land but also lives in freshwater rivers and streams. It has large eyes and small ears, and is typically between 1.5 and 1.8 meters long. Males weigh between 32 and 45 kilograms, and females weigh between 22 and 26 kilograms.

They are highly social, and do everything in groups of between 2 and 20 otters, though a typical group consists of 3 – 8. They also hunt together, consisting on a diet of mostly fish, including piranhas. Allegedly, during times of scarcity ariranhas will even hunt small alligators and snakes–even small anacondas. The ariranha eats with its head out of the water while swimming backwards, giving human onlookers an interesting sight. When the ariranha gives birth, the babies are raised by the group and taught how to hunt.

Unfortunately, the ariranhas are endangered due to poaching and habitat destruction, especially due to logging. Water pollution from mining and agriculture also pose a threat to the ariranha.

To learn more about the ariranha in Portuguese, click here.

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  1. Marlene:

    Ah, bom.
    I was going to point out that, being an otter, this animal can’t possibly be an amphibian (as it says in the original e-mail/blog post I received) but I see it’s already been corrected to “a mammal with an amphibious lifestyle”. I’ll go along with that.