The Otter – photos taken on the Isle of Mull, Autumn 2010

The Otter 

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© Martin Gillingham

 Young otter eating

Scientific name: Lutra lutra
Common names:

  • Common otter
  • Eurasian otter
  • Eurasian river otter
  • European otter
  • Old world otter

Although otters are usually nocturnal, we were lucky to see these young siblings on the stunning Isle of Mull. Whilst driving alongside a loch I saw a shape in the water so we stopped, hoping it would be an otter. Amazingly, it was not one but three of these beautiful creatures! It was a windy day and the surface of the loch had been whipped into waves which broke onto the rocky shore depositing the two young otters onto the beach. The larger otter, presumably their mother, swam back out into the middle of the loch after reassuring herself that her offspring were safe.  We were lucky enough to watch these two playing and hunting in the seaweed-strewn shoreline for nearly two hours.

Two otters in seaweed

The Mammal Society website says:

Recognition: Brown fur, often pale on underside; long slender body; small ears; long thick tail; webbed feet; swims very low in the water, head and back barely showing.
Head/body length:
about 60-80cm; tail about 32-56cm
Weight: average 8.2 kg for males; 6.0 kg for females.
Diet:
Fish, especially eels and salmonids are eaten, and crayfish at certain times of the year. Coastal otters in Shetland eat bottom-living species such as eelpout, rockling and butterfish. Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and ducks. In the spring, frogs are an important food item.

Young otter creeping through seaweed

Two otters in seaweed (sideways view)

 

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One Comment

  1. This rates as one of my best wild otter encounters. What’s been your favourite otter experience and where were you? Great news about otters now being in every county in England but I’ve only seen otters in Scotland. Have you seen otters in England?

    Be Greener

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