are otters native to the uk

Species. Spotted-necked otter. Along riverbanks and waterways, look for five-toed footprints (about 6-7cm long) and droppings or 'spraints'. For coastal dwelling otters, oil spill is a real danger. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. Otters are ready to reproduce when they are from 2 to 3 years of age. Newborns are only about 12cm long but grow quickly and can swim at three months. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. However, between the 1950s and 1970s, their numbers significantly dropped, prompting conservationists to sound the alarm bells for one of UK’s beloved animals. Male Otters are called boars, females are sows, and the offspring are pups. 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. They are native … On the Shetland Islands, some otters have been known to abandon fishing in favour of rabbit hunting. 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. Known for their playfulness, otters are found all over the world including the UK. Type: Mammal Location: One of the widest distributions of a UK mammal species, the Eurasian Otter is found throughout Europe, eastern Russia and China, south and south east Asia and north Africa. About the National Non-Native Species Secretariat. It is common in Lake Victoria and Zambia, but not in some lakes and rivers, such as in the Zambezi below the Victoria Falls. The oldest recorded otter reached around 12 years of age, but this is exceptional. Otters are regularly recorded here, and there is also the chance to see large numbers of wildfowl in winter. Few animals among Britain’s native wildlife are as endearing as otters. Perhaps the most foolproof location for otters is the Isle of Mull. Thanks! The species of otter that occurs in Ireland is called the Eurasian otter and is found in Europe and across Asia to China and Japan. Otters have five claws so it’s easy to tell an otter footprint from most other animals. At WWT we have wild otters living on all our reserves. They are friendly and playful which is why they’re one of the well-loved animals in the world. Otter causing great excitement in the entrance ditch at Slimbridge WWT this lunchtime! This soft layer closest to their skin traps air, which gives good insulation. Otters are carnivorous mustelids in the Lutrinae subfamily. At Slimbridge there are regular otter visitors to the Kingfisher Hide and at Washington otters have made the saline lagoon their home. Otters are carnivorous mammals with thick fur and webbed feet. Already have an account with us? Meet the adorable members of the otter family from around the world. Otters are noisy creatures and you might well hear them before you see them. This species is the most widely distributed of all the otters, ranging through Eurasia up to the Arctic Circle, from Ireland to Kamchatka, and south to North Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. This is one of the many features they have which is suited to a life in and around water. The return of the otter to waterways across the country is one of the UK’s top conservation success stories. Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. In Ireland the otter population is geographically widely spread. In local areas its presence will depend on the provision of suitable aquatic habitats, sufficient food and cover fo… Keep an eye out for them: Today an otter’s main threat is from what we put in the water. Until 1998, it was thought to have been extinct, but small populations have been discovered since then. Beautiful, sleek and playful, otters are a joy to watch as they twist and dive in the water. Otters are fascinating animals as well as being adorable. agreeing to use our cookies. By entering your details, you are agreeing to Discover Wildlife terms and conditions and privacy policy. For many years our native Eurasian or European otter (scientific name Lutra Lutra) has been on the brink of extinction in the UK and spotting one in the wild would have been almost impossible, but today you are more likely to see one than at any time in the last 60 years. The Sea Otter is the only species that have a shorter and less muscular tail. They have two types of fur, … 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. Threats to their recovery include habitat loss, severe flooding, and road traffic. Mating occurs at any time of the year and females give birth to 2 – 3 cubs, usually between May and August. In the UK, otters almost became extinct in the fifties and sixties because of rivers contaminated with chemical residues. There is some debate as to whether the Congo clawless otter is a separate species to the African clawless otter (A.capensis), but it is considered a separate species by the IUCN Otter Specialist Group. Otters declined catastrophically throughout England in the late 1950s. If there Otters habitat is thriving with enough room for them and plenty of food then they may mate more than once in a give season. This species can grow quite large, almost as big as the giant otter, and weigh up to 18kg. This species is known to mostly feed on beetles, worms, birds and other small mammals. Because otters eat mainly fish, you’ll generally find them in areas where there are plenty of this food source. 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! Visit mammal.org.uk. Barton Broad - The largest Broad in the Ant Valley. Otters are thought to be especially vulnerable to the effects of oil. Today though, otters have returned to most of their former haunts in Norfolk. The species was driven to near extinction in some areas between the 1950s and 1970s, but thanks to improvements in water quality and greater protection it can once again be found across Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and – as of 2011 – every county in England. It is a man-made landscape impacted by natural processes - the open water is a result of flooded peat diggings. Cubs are usually born in a holt in a bank, or between rocks or tree roots. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, but the largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters. This species occurs throughout the USA and Canada, and has been reintroduced to midwestern USA in order to expand its distribution. 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. There are 13 extant species of otter around the world, one of which is native to the UK. The males are the ones that seek out the females when they are ready to mate. Eurasian otter numbers began declining in the 1950s until the species became almost extinct in England and Wales, although a small population survived in Scotland. Their eyes are high on their head so they can still see even when most of their body is submerged underwater. Today, the Eurasian otter population is increasing (although it remains Near Threatened on the Red List) and every county in the UK now has a wild otter population. 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. 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. This otter is found in coastal areas and on larger inland rivers across Southeast Asia (Myanmar, South Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia, including Sumatra and Borneo). They are creatures of habit and tend to follow the same routes, travelling as much on land as they do in water. 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? Sign in to manage your newsletter preferences. They breed all year round, but in the UK otters tend to have their young (called pups) in the summer months so at this time of year, you stand a better chance of glimpsing a sight of them in rivers and coastal wetlands. By continuing to use our site, you are You can unsubscribe at any time. 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. The Scottish population is estimated to be around 8000 otters. 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 giant otter is found in South America in a range of countries including Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. In freshwater they feed on trout and salmon. The otter is the only otter native to the UK. The South Korean population is endangered. Extremely few individuals survive in Vietnam, southern Thailand, Sumatra and Cambodia, mainly due to poaching. American mink Mustela vison were introduced to the UK at the beginning of the 20th century, and are now considered an invasive species. Otters leave spraints in prominent places, such as fallen trees, weirs and bridges, as 'scented messages', helping them to find mates and defend territories. Otters consume mainly fish but many people think that they eat plants and berries. They are fast, naturally secretive and usually nocturnal. We use cookies on this site to improve your user experience. There are 13 different types of otter, including river, sea, giant, African clawless and hairy nosed otter. Sea otters are native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Posted in: Where do otters live? 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! Male otters are known as “dogs”, females are “bitches” and the offspring are “pups”. The South American river otter can be found in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats throughout Chile and Argentina. Small-clawed otters and to a lesser extent the three other otter species found in Southeast Asia—the Eurasian otter, the smooth-coated otter, and the hairy-nosed otter—have become new stars of the regional pet trade. In India, the species is distributed in the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats and the central Indian landscape. Otters are carnivorous mustelids in the Lutrinae subfamily. In Norfolk by the 1970s most traditional otter sites were deserted and whole river systems no longer supported any otters. It is found in the rainforests of the Congo basin including Democratic Republic of Congo, Equitorial Guinea and Gabon. Otters are known to compete against foreign species such as mink that have been devastating populations of small native mammals such as the water vole, which has declined to … Magazine, and countryfile.com here, and the offspring are “ bitches ” and the Outer Hebrides, where otters. 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