The Asian short-clawed otter is a sociable animal, living in loose family groups of up to 12 individuals (2). Within each group is an adult monogamous pair, with both parents contributing to the raising of their offspring (5). The female gives birth to up to two litters each year (2), each containing up to seven young but often just containing one or two. The young are born after a gestation period of 60 to 64 days (2), into a nest of grass that the female has built two weeks prior (5). The young otters do not open their eyes until 40 days old. At seven to nine weeks of age they take their first swim and, shortly after, they eat solid food (2) (8).
The diet of the Asian short-clawed otter consists primarily of crabs, other crustaceans, molluscs and fish (2), although frogs, small mammals, snakes and insects are also eaten (6). With their sensitive and dexterous front paws, they dig around in the mud or under stones to find their prey (2). With their large back teeth, the Asian short-clawed otter can crush the shells of crabs and molluscs, or they have been known to leave these creatures out in the sun once they have been dug up, where the heat causes the shells to open up (5). In areas of rice fields, the Asian short-clawed otter may serve a valuable function to farmers as it preys on the crabs found in the paddies (6).
When not searching for food, this playful otter may be found along the grassy or sandy banks of rivers, resting or grooming (5). It interacts with other members of the family group using a vocabulary of at least 12 calls (2), including greeting, mating and alarm calls (5). In Malaysia at night, their chirps are often heard as they move through rice fields (6).