A medium-sized species, the smooth otter inhabits coastal areas such as estuaries and mangroves, and inland water bodies such as lakes and reservoirs. They are usually encountered in family groups of around 4 to 6 individuals which may include near-adult offspring from different breeding seasons. The litter comprises one or two cubs.
They feed on fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Identifying features include the buff-coloured throat and underparts, the short, smooth fur and the hairless nose. The feet are large and webbed, and the tail somewhat flattened.
The smooth otter ranges throughout mainland Southeast Asia as far west as India and in Sumatra. In Singapore small family groups regularly visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.