Eurasian Otter

Latin Name Lutra lutra
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae
IUCN status Near threatened
Habitat Highland and lowland lakes, steams, marshes and coastal waters
Distribution Range covers Europe, Asia and Africa in many of these areas the otter is extinct or reduced to small fragmented groups

General Information

Otters are semi-aquatic animals eating fish, frogs, crabs, small birds and mammals. In most of its range it is nocturnal except in the Shetlands where it is diurnal. The Eurasian otter is a solitary animal with the female rearing the cubs on her own. This otter is extremely susceptible to human destruction of its territory although there are signs of increased otter activity closer to towns etc.

Fun Fact

Otters don’t just have whiskers around the muzzle and nose, they have a few stiff whiskers on their elbows too – this helps them to detect vibrations in the water to track down moving prey.

Keeper Notes

We care for around 15 – 20 wild rescue otters every year until their release at approximately 12-15 months old.
We have 2 resident Eurasian Otters:

Franklin (male), born in 2013 at the British Wildlife Centre, joined us in 2017. Franklin is part of a wild bloodline that we captive bred through Sixpence & Topaz, both wild rescues, in 2012.

Millie (female), who joined us in 2012 as a wild rescue through the RSPCA, but she had been hand-reared and was therefore unsuitable for wild release and needed a permanent home.

We were delighted to announce on 14th January 2018, that Franklin & Millie, had a male cub, which Millie is successfully raising. We have decided to name him Chestnut, after our sister centre closing their doors to visitors in December 2017, it seemed only fitting to call our first otter cub born after the Chestnut Centre.