Eurasian Otters (Lutra Lutra)
The Otter is a semi-aquatic mammal and the largest member of the Weasel family (mustelids). They are secretive and elusive creatures who are strongly territorial. Their main diet is fish but during the winter they may top up their diets on amphibians, crustaceans, insects, birds and sometimes small mammals. They have to eat around 1-1.5kg of prey per day.
The Eurasian Otter is a widely distributed Otter species, its range including parts of Africa and Asia, as well as being spread across Europe and south to Israel. They inhabit unpolluted bodies of fresh water including rivers, lakes, streams and ponds.
Otters are non-seasonal breeders meaning they can breed at any time of the year. Cubs normally stay with the mother until they are a year old.
If you come across a young Otter on its own and making a lot of noise, it would normally be wise to rescue it straight away. They cry out when they have lost their mothers and it can be a race against time to get them warmed up and on to fluids. A cat carrier or a strong sturdy box is required to contain them. Although they may look sweet and cute they will bite and hiss at you. Wearing thick gloves, throw a towel or heavy blanket over the Otter and pick it up with both hands ensuring you keep its head facing away from you and place in the box/carrier and close the lid. Place the box/carrier in a warm room and call your nearest wildlife rescue centre or the SSPCA in Scotland or RSPCA in England. Do not attempt to give fluids by mouth or feed it until you have spoken to a professional. Failure to do this could result in the death of the animal.