On boulders or rocks either in or near a river Prior to the 1950s, these fish-devouring mammals were abundant in England. Where do sea otters live map? Though still considered rare, the species is widespread in the UK and can be seen in almost every county. 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. They do not like intruders in their space or near their family and will defend accordingly. Can otters use tools? They communicate via whistles, twittering noises and spitting sounds, which can be heard at night when it is quiet and still. However, when fish is scarce, they eat insects, frogs, birds and other mammals like rodents. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. Fun Facts - Otters have valves or flaps of skin that cover the nostrils and ears to keep water out when underwater. Having spent her childhood in the countryside, Fran has been fascinated about nature since she was young. Required fields are marked *. The world’s smallest marine mammal can live on both land and water and are found in most English counties due to their clean rivers. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. One of the major culprits behind the disappearance of otters in the UK is habitat pollution. They sometimes live along the coast, but they still require fresh water nearby. Or email otters@swansea.ac.uk Winterwatch is now on with live reports from the Scottish Highlands. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Where do otters live? 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. 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. There is a high chance of one of them getting bitten. Tracks/footprints: Otter prints can be found at the edge of river banks, in gravel, sand, and mud, and on tarmac if they have just left the river. But do you want to go out and see them? Otter sightings have been reported in various parts of the country. North American river otters, also called Canadian otters, have long, muscular, streamlined bodies with short legs and fully webbed feet bearing non-retractable claws. They do need dry land, though. The river otter can swim on the surface or underwater. At river junctions or intersections. They live in holes in river banks called holts; a holt will have a few different entrances to protect against flooding, with at least one entrance being above water level. Given these facts and the existing threats, it is not impossible for their number to drop again. Life Span: Otters can live to be up to ten years old, though few survive more than five years. Otters tend to use the same area time after time for depositing waste and this area is referred to as a latrine. It’s one of the things … Otters are adorable animals and they can live both in the land and in the river. By the 1970s, otters were restricted mainly to Scotland, especially the … Organochlorine chemicals which are found in pesticides contaminated rivers in England rendering them uninhabitable for fish and otters. Distribution & Habitat The otter is a secretive semi-aquatic species which was once widespread in Britain. Aside from polluted habitats, hunting also contributed to the decline in their population. Beware of loose banks and slip hazards This eventually led to improved water quality and fish population. Avoid rivers in full flood or fast-flowing sections By the 1970s, otters were restricted mainly to Scotland, especially the islands and the north-west coast, western Wales, parts of East Anglia and the West Country (though they remained common and widespread also in Ireland). Their f… This is essential to ensure that the otters reduce predation of stillwater lakes and, of course, so that anglers are able to enjoy their historic and popular pastime and live in harmony with the beautiful otter. A sea otter’s tool of choice: typically a rock that … Otters are found almost all over the world and in many wet habitats, such freshwater rivers, lakes, oceans, coastlines and marshes. Otters can live in most places where there is a rocky shoreline and nearby freshwater, but these tips collated by Joe Gibb – with the help of otter aficionado Roger Cottis – will help give you the greatest chance of spotting an otter in the wild. River otters as a whole look quite similar to weasels. In certain parts of the country road deaths are considerably high – this is something we at the UK Wild Otter Trust want to address by helping with under-road tunnels to help reduce the number of road casualties. 2: Prioritise species safety. Hence, protecting them is essential to ensure that they continue to thrive in the UK. She loves animals and currently cares for three adorable chihuahuas. Their small heads widen to long necks and shoulders, and they have flattened, well-muscled tails. So otters live in two different worlds, no actually three: the dry one we are familiar with, the under water world and the under ice world. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. Apart from being easily accessible, this urban site, which also happens to be Devon Wildlife Trust’s headquarters, receives regular visits from otters. Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Only enter the water if it’s safe to do so Meanwhile, studies are showing that pollutants like pesticides are harming the reproductive system of otters. It has taken 30 years, but the otter's comeback is now complete. Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. When she's not writing, she's busy trekking or exploring beaches. Do not drink the water Below is a selection of photographs of spraints, tracks and other otter signs. In fact, following the announcement of their comeback, fishing groups called for a cull because they say that otters are threats to their fish. The average otter is 1–1.3 metres in length, and weighs up to 9kg. Yet, it still took three decades for otter population in the UK to fully recover. The otter is lithe and slender with short legs, a strong neck, and a long flat tail that helps propel it gracefully through water. Where do otters live? Oftentimes, they are found by the River Lune. Their numbers are no longer near extinction levels. There are several places in the UK where you might be able to spot otters. All otters have webbed feet to help propel them through the water, and most species have sharp claws. Around ponds and lakes When out looking for otters, please follow to this safety advice: Try to work in pairs On old tree stumps or logs Located at the heart of Exeter city centre, Cricklepit Mill is one of the best places to spot otters. Beware of ticks (which can carry Lyme disease) and consult your doctor should you feel unwell, Charity Registration Number - – but our river systems still require extensive habitat management to restore them to a healthy level that can sustain fish stocks and wildlife. Because otters eat mainly fish, you’ll generally find … Stay alert and observant when you go otter spotting in Aughton Woods. You need to hike if you wish to get a glimpse of these shy creatures. In marshes or reed beds Nowadays, they can be seen in ancestral river territories and other parts of the country. They even love to live in swamp and marsh areas. We do too. Keep up to date with the hottest wildlife content on the web and save £10 on your first wildlife experience. Their main habitat is on the land near to water bodies. During these months, otters come out and try catching the salmons in the waterfalls. Otters are semi-aquatic mammals that belong to the family called Mustelid. This vast wetland serves as a home for a number of otters. Spraints: In other words, otter droppings. Others are getting caught in fishing nets and crayfish traps, while some are dying in road accidents. Otters are very playful: Don’t be surprised when you see otters happily sliding. Their gestation period is 9 weeks and they can breed at any time of the year, although this usually occurs in spring. Despite being strong swimmers, otters are unable to hold their breath underwater for long periods and usually dive for no more than 30 seconds at a time. Anal discharge: You may find anal discharges on rocks and boulders. Prior to the 1950s, these fish-devouring mammals were abundant in England. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. The northern sea otter tends to haul out more than others. Otter Diet: Otters live near water because it provides them with everything they need—including food. If you keep a pet otter, be very careful when you have visitors. The sea otter, one of the 13 otter species, is considered the smallest marine mammal in the world. Most otters live in dens — built by other animals, such as beavers — that are dug into the ground that have many channels and dry inner chambers. Your email address will not be published. The use of pesticides containing organochlorine chemicals was also stopped. There’s a hide where you can wait for them without being seen. Other animals you may find here are oystercatchers, pied flycatchers and common sandpipers. – but our river systems still require extensive habitat management to restore them to a healthy level that can sustain fish stocks and wildlife. It is important to note that spotting otters is not easy. They also have five toes – a distinctive sign that it’s an otter print. They can live eight to nine years in the wild but have lived up to 21 years in captivity. Where Do They Live Otters can be found in many different parts of the world depending on the types of otters spotted. Its eyes are placed at the top of the head, so it can remain alert whilst the rest of the body is underwater. Anal jelly: This is a clear jelly-like substance that smells the same as spraint. Conservation. Though currently believed to be extinct in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, they are now very common in Latvia, along the coast of Norway, in the western regions of Spain and Portugal and across Great Britain, especially Shetland, where 12% of the UK breeding population exists. There is a picture below to help you recognise this sign. You need to be extremely patient. Sometimes, talks about otters are conducted here. In 1978, hunting of otters in the UK was banned. Otters are very territorial and live in family groups. Catch the best of UK winter wildlife on BBC Two at 20:00 tonight . Some claim seeing these marine mammals along the farm’s natural trail. Otters are also regularly seen at Portrack Marsh. Where do wild otters live, and how can you see one in the UK? In fact, in their lifetime, most females only give birth to two sets of pups. It’s important to know your target species’ habitat, behaviour and feeding patterns before setting out. They have 2 or 3 cubs weighing no more than 40g; these are not born natural swimmers, and very often adults will force their young into the water for their first swimming lesson. Otters have small, rounded ears, and long sensitive whiskers to help them feel the vibrations of their prey. Eurasian otters will generally live anywhere that has a source of unpolluted fresh water with a sufficient food supply. However, between the 1950s and 1970s, their numbers significantly dropped, prompting conservationists to sound the alarm bells for one of UK’s beloved animals. River otters generally live alone or in small social groups. They can be found in Alaska, Canada, Japan, Russia, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and other places along the coast. The otter (Lutra lutra) was lost from most of England and Wales between the 1950s and the 1970s because of pesticide pollution of waterways. If opportunity presents itself, an otter will eat a … Changes in traditional farming methods also play a part in threatening the otter via the increasing use of pesticides. This can also be black, but varies in colour. Otters do not reproduce quickly. Sea otters are found in two areas: The Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, and along the central California coast. River otters belong to the weasel family. One of … The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) is one of the world's leading otter charities. © 2018 Finding Nature Ltd | Registered in England & Wales Company Number 10746185. They are able to stay well hidden in these types of environments which makes them less like to fall victim to a variety of predators on land. The best places to find otters and their signs are: Under and near bridges Do you want to see otters? Youngsters will open their eyes within 5 weeks. During your walk, you may spot other animals such as seals, herons, swans and tufted duck. At the visitor centre, there is an interactive screen where you can watch footage of otters during their visits to the Mill. The best signs are of course tracks, but other signs are listed below. In the latter two they get most of their food. 1: Do your research. Otters prefer to live in bodies of water that are close to land offering them wetlands or the woods close by. The north American range of sea otters extends from the Aleutian Islands to Prince William Sound. They are usually found on the river and riverbank. The European otter has been here for millions of years; it is a member of the Mustelid family, which also includes the badger, mink, weasels, stoats, martens and polecats, and is the only truly semi-aquatic member of the weasel family. In 2011, the Environment Agency announced that otters are officially back in the country. On banksides Sightings often happen during mid-afternoon. The sea otter, however, rarely comes ashore, according to the San Diego Zoo. European otter Scientific name: Lutra lutra The sinuous otter is an excellent swimmer and can be seen hunting in wetlands, rivers and along the coast - try the west coast of Scotland, West Wales, the West Country or East Anglia for the best views. Despite their sleek bodies, these mammals can eat food amounting to as much as 25% of their body weight. While authorities say that numbers are looking good for otters, you must still take part in efforts to safeguard these adorable mammals, especially since threats to their existence remain. Cubs will stay with and remain dependent upon their parents for over a year. If you really want to see otters at Gilfach farm, schedule your visit between October to December. Eurasian otter eating fish photo by Smudge 9000, Your email address will not be published. Where do sea otters live in the world? The otter is one of the few mammals that use tools. These are 2 – 7cm long, will contain fish bones and scales, be tarry and black but turn grey when old, and naturally, will smell very strongly of fish! This tail serves to propel the otters through water. Origin & Distribution: The otter is a secretive semi-aquatic species which was once widespread in Britain. Some of them are listed below: This ancient woodland on the River Lune is consider an otter hotspot. On gravel banks or sand and muddy areas Otters have reappeared in places where they have not been seen since the industrial revolution, including Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, and even on the Thames and the Lea in north London. Road and building constructions as well as other infrastructure developments are displacing otters, too. Do your homework to ensure that you’re fully educated before venturing out to otter spot. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. Due to the drastic drop in otter population in the country, measures were implemented to prevent them from becoming extinct. They typically … However, between the 1950s and 1970s, their numbers significantly dropped, prompting conservationists to sound the alarm bells for one of UK’s beloved animals. In recent years the otter has encountered new and varied threats, including habitat destruction (road building, new urban development), persecution by fishery owners and gamekeepers (as they are seen as a threat to fish and game birds – which is untrue), and if near the sea, injury and capture in fishing nets. Known for their playfulness, otters are found all over the world including the UK. But it survived in Scotland’s cleanest bodies of water in the north and west. When is the best time to see otters? River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. Unfortunately, even though the species has made a distinct comeback and is now found often in our rivers, wild otters rarely live beyond 4 years of age. They will start to leave at 14 to 15 months old, and begin breeding at between 17 and 20 months old. 1167746 If you do, then you are lucky because the odds of seeing otters in the UK nowadays are high. Pet otters need a lot of attention. Two species are marine; the others live mostly in fresh water. Otter, any of 13–14 species of semiaquatic mammals that belong to the weasel family and are noted for their playfulness. Sometimes, otters are spotted at the city centre. These elusive animals are also highly sensitive.  Stay quiet when observing them and never disturb them and their habitat. Known for their playfulness, otters are found all over the world including the UK. But don't mistakenly call these beasts 'sea otters' – they are still our native otter, and not the different North American sea otter. A recent report by Cardiff University (2013) noted that pesticides and pollutants may also be affecting the otter’s reproductive system. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. Otters are social creatures. This isn’t surprising at all given the city centre’s proximity to Winnall Moors, estimated to be a 10-minute walk. Other members of this family are weasels, polecats and badgers. North American river otters were hunted and trapped extensively for their fur in the 19th and 20th centuries, and are still hunted in some places. Their dense, short under-fur is overlain by darker, coarse guard hairs that help repel wa… Fishery owners hunted them because they were viewed as threats to the fish. The best time to look for otters in this area is early in the morning. Their diet consists of roughly 80% fish, but they will prey upon birds, mammals and frogs if fish are in short supply. Winnall Moors is a wildlife oasis located north of Winchester city centre. This can include rivers, canals, lakes and wetland areas. Never put a photograph, film clip, or personal experience before the welfare of the otter. They have long, narrow bodies, with long tails and short legs. At either end of shortcut paths For the best chance of spotting an otter, head to Scotland, the west coast of Wales, East Anglia and South-West Endland. One species of otter is native to the UK: the Eurasian or European otter, which is found across Europe, even reaching some parts of Asia and Africa too. Perhaps the most foolproof location for otters is the Isle of Mull. Otters cannot be kept as pets because they require specific conditions for longevity. There are three subspecies of sea otters: southern, northern and Russian sea otters. The European otter (Lutra lutra), also called the Eurasian otter, inhabits Europe, most of Asia and parts of North Africa. So, to increase your chance of seeing them, take a walk along the River Tees. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet, Located at the heart of Exeter city centre, Cricklepit Mill is one of the best places to spot otters. Be on the lookout for footprints displaying four toes as these may point you to where the otters are. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. Copyright © 2019 Uk Wild Otter Trust | Designed by Kinlake, Otter factfile: What they’re like, threats, and how to find them, What to do if you find a live otter or cub. Reports now state that otters inhabit every county in the UK – great news for the otter! You may find them resting on ditches, tree roots and boardwalks, among others. Others report spotting them by the waterfalls. If you want our help we can research, plan and book your dream wildlife experience. There are reports of otter sightings at this traditional hill farm. Predators such as the bald eagle may eat the pups. 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