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

Along with our other centre The New Forest Wildlife Park we care for 12 to 15 orphaned otter cubs each year.

Many cubs come initially to the Chestnut Centre to be cared for and stabilised before being taken to the New Forest where we have more long term facilities.

Most of these cubs are returned to the wild when they are old enough.