Belongs to: carnivores

Otter Lutra lutra

recovering from extinction in Essex

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Mainly dark brown animal with blunt nose and tapering tail, superbly adapted to swimming

Anywhere with access to fresh water where adequate supplies of fish and good cover are available

Once widespread across Europe, now only found in good numbers around the northern and western fringes


Blunt muzzle and tapering tail distinguish it from the smaller mink, with more pointed face and shorter, straighter tail

Head and body up to 80 cm; tail a further 35-45 cm; weight up to 15 kg

Nocturnal and shy, so its presence is most often revealed by its sweet-smelling droppings (scats) left in prominent spots


Nests in a holt, usually built among tree roots; one litter a year of up to 5 young, born unfurred and helpless

Eats various aquatic animals, but mainly fish, patrolling a home range of up to 40 km

Can live as long as 20 years; does not hibernate

  • adut
  • holt
  • pair

© Leslie Borg


© Leslie Borg