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In a war waged between river otters and crocodilians, which side do you think would win? Surely, the vicious, toothy crocodilians would chomp clear through the cute, loveable river otters. Not quite. In South America, the giant otter resides among hundreds of hungry caimans (a type of crocodilian related to alligators) without any issue. Here’s why. At 5.6 feet (1.7 meters), they are the biggest otters in the world and the longest members of the weasel family. They are also downright scary-looking. Check this one out:

Giant River Otter - Photo by Tambako The Jaguar
Giant otter with fish. Photo by Tambako The Jaguar.

Imagine seeing those eyes staring into your soul as those sharp canine teeth pierce your flesh. *Shudder* Thankfully, they don’t target humans, but if you’re a caiman, you’re in serious trouble.

In other parts of the world, crocodilians are generally at the very top of the food chain in rivers. But, within the giant otter’s range (which is, unfortunately, rapidly shrinking), this is not the case.

In their natural habitat, giant otters are apex predators, and while they primarily eat fish, they can and do take down caimans and anacondas. However, to tackle such huge and dangerous prey, they must hunt in groups.

In the video below, a group of giant otters collectively attack and kill a caiman.