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Scientific name: Lutra lutra
- 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.
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.
- International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) – www.otter.org
IOSF is a global organisation working to conserve all 13 species of otter by helping to support scientists and other workers in practical conservation, education, research and rescue and rehabilitation.
- BBC Nature – www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/European_Otter
Videos, news and facts on this informative website.
- Otters are back – in every county in England (The Guardian, 18 Aug 2011)
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