Otter

Lutra lutra

Nottinghamshire Mammals

Description

The most likely confusion species is mink. Otter are much larger with a broad muzzle and flat head. Mink are usually much darker than the mid-brown coloured otter. An otters tail is long and tapering unlike the minks more bushy tail. When swimming an otter creates V- shaped wake which the mink does not.


Otters suffered a massive decline in England in the 20th century as a result of the poor quality of rivers, mainly as a result of pesticides. By the 1970s they were restricted to a few places in East Anglia and the south-west. Good populations remained in Scotland and parts of Wales.

In Nottinghamshire there was just one record from the 1930s and then no more until the 1970s. Following an otter free 1980s the number of records (actual sightings and field signs) began to rise from the early 1990s and have continued since then.

The graph below shows the number of 1km squares (monads) where otters were recorded in a given period. The spike in records from 2000 to 2004 coincides with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's "Rivers and Otter" project which had a full time staff member out searching for signs and actively promoting otter recording. It would be interesting to see how many records we would get today with the same recording effort. I expect there would be many more.

Please report all signs of otter even if you know it's a regular area for them

the otter in Nottinghamshire

Photograph Amy Lewis


Notts Mammal Maps

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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