Look for a muddy, semi-circular slide into the river. Following a period of serious decline between the 1950s and 1970s when the species was driven to near extinction in some areas, these water-dwelling mammals have made a comeback in every county in England and beyond. The position of its eyes are high on its head which means it can see out of the water whilst the rest of its body stays submerged below - like a hippo! Otters: surveys and mitigation for development ... - GOV.UK Threats to their recovery include habitat loss, severe flooding, and road traffic. Eurasian otters are indigenous to the UK and can be found in either fresh or salt water, although it’s usually known as the river otter for the obvious reason. These include webbed feet and the ability to close their nostrils and ears when under water. Although the Eurasian otter isn’t a marine animal (don’t confuse it with a sea otter, which are only found in the Pacific) because it can’t survive without fresh water, they are often found in coastal habitats as well as lakes, rivers and streams. The Neotropical otter is the greatest generalist of all otter species, inhabiting a range of habitats including wastewater treatment plants, rice and sugar cane plantations, drainage ditches and swamps to cold, glacial lakes in the Andes of Ecuador. Due to trapping, water pollution and habitat degradation, the numbers of North American river otter had declined through most of their range by the early 1900s. Otters leave spraints in prominent places, such as fallen trees, weirs and bridges, as 'scented messages', helping them to find mates and defend territories. At WWT we have wild otters living on all our reserves. Other sea lochs along Scotland's west coast are similarly rich in otters, which can be seen foraging for food on the water's edge. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. Otters seek clean rivers, filled with food and overgrown banks where they can raise their cubs. Extremely few individuals survive in Vietnam, southern Thailand, Sumatra and Cambodia, mainly due to poaching. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, but the largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters. As of 2011, they can be found in every English county, including some urban rivers. This species can grow quite large, almost as big as the giant otter, and weigh up to 18kg. On the Shetland Islands, some otters have been known to abandon fishing in favour of rabbit hunting. There are 13 extant species of otter around the world, one of which is native to the UK. Otters are carnivorous mustelids in the Lutrinae subfamily. This is one of the many features they have which is suited to a life in and around water. Discover more fascinating facts about giant otters in our fact file by the International Otter Survival Fund. They are a greeny black colour and are often described as smelling like flowers! More and more traces of drugs and medicines, and the plastic pellets found in exfoliants, are being found in rivers, and they’re also being found in otters’ bodies. Though they typically forage alone, sea otters tend to rest together and link arms in single-sex groups called rafts. Otters and their mustelid relatives were once hunted extensively for their fur, many to the point of near extinction. We use cookies on this site to improve your user experience. agreeing to use our cookies. The invasive American mink also has five toes, but the pads are much narrower and the claws more pointed. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. Wetland wildlife. Mating occurs at any time of the year and females give birth to 2 – 3 cubs, usually between May and August. This species has the widest distribution of all the Lontra species, from northern and central Argentina up through south and central America to northwest Mexico. This soft layer closest to their skin traps air, which gives good insulation. @slimbridge_wild @WWTSlimbridge pic.twitter.com/nJh84PUOpM, A couple of shots of the otter at WWT Llanelli @WWTLlanelli @WWTworldwide @WWTconservation @strictlysophie @wildlife_uk pic.twitter.com/9YTWHJ8RPO. The Sea Otter is the only species that have a shorter and less muscular tail. The little owl is a native animal of the United Kingdom, and it was introduced in this region in the 19th century. Also known as Oriental small-clowed otters, these otters are often seen in zoos, which makes them one of the more familiar otter species for many people. The longer outer layer of guard hairs is waterproof, and stops water touching their skin at all, which means they don't lose heat that way either from the water leaching away precious body warmth, When it’s underwater the otter can close its ears and nose but can only hold its breath for about 30 seconds. It is found in the rainforests of the Congo basin including Democratic Republic of Congo, Equitorial Guinea and Gabon. Otters are thought to be especially vulnerable to the effects of oil. Otter causing great excitement in the entrance ditch at Slimbridge WWT this lunchtime! The males are the ones that seek out the females when they are ready to mate. Posted in: In the UK IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on years of scientific research in the UK and around the world. Otters are noisy creatures and you might well hear them before you see them. Because otters eat mainly fish, you’ll generally find them in areas where there are plenty of this food source. In Norfolk by the 1970s most traditional otter sites were deserted and whole river systems no longer supported any otters. Despite becoming almost extinct from England and Wales otters have managed to thrive on Scotland’s rugged coastlines and wild moorlands and today otter numbers there are thought to exceed 8,000. For coastal dwelling otters, oil spill is a real danger. Smooth-coated otters occur throughout much of the Indian Subcontinent in Java, Sumatra and Borneo, northward to south-western China, east through Nepal and Bhutan and India to Pakistan, excluding the Indus Valley. They are fast, naturally secretive and usually nocturnal. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! policy for further information about how we use your personal information. Scotland is the best place in the UK to see them and particularly on the coast, where they are generally more active during the day. Welcome to the UK Wild Otter Trust! By continuing to use our site, you are The otter is the only otter native to the UK. The return of the otter to waterways across the country is one of the UK’s top conservation success stories. Perhaps the most foolproof location for otters is the Isle of Mull. American mink Mustela vison were introduced to the UK at the beginning of the 20th century, and are now considered an invasive species. you can book a tour with Richard Shucksmith, co-author of ‘Otters in Shetland: the Tale of the Draatsi’ Are otters a native species to Shetland? In other regions the otter shares aquatic habitats with species specialised to different habitats such as sea otters, but in Ireland the otters that live at the coast and those that occupy our rivers are the same species. In freshwater they feed on trout and salmon. Even though there are more of them about otters are still hard to spot. Otters consume mainly fish but many people think that they eat plants and berries. In the UK IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on years of scientific research in the UK and around the world. Also known as the Cape clawless otter, the African clawless otter is found through much of sub-Saharan Africa. Talk to any fisherman along the coast, and you’re likely to hear that they just saw one that morning – sometimes trying to pillage their catch! Along riverbanks and waterways, look for five-toed footprints (about 6-7cm long) and droppings or 'spraints'. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic , aquatic or marine , with diets based on fish and invertebrates . Otters have five claws so it’s easy to tell an otter footprint from most other animals. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). 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