Otters tend to live in a holt, which is normally a hole in a river or lakeside bank or in a tree root. Clawless otters, on the other hand, are nocturnal. Be warned, it’s rather gruesome viewing with the tentacle-less octopus changing colour as it’s being eaten alive. Methods of Collecting Food. With the ability to smell concentrations of fish and their high metabolisms, otters spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. To see an otter in the wild demands not only being in the right place at the right time but also that you spot the otter before the otter spots you. In the wild there are 13 different species of otter, and they’re found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. All otters are expert hunters that eat fish, crustaceans, and other critters. Pet otters eat a lot. Because otters eat mainly fish, you’ll generally find them in areas where there are plenty of this food source. However, otters differ from similar species like beavers, muskrats, and nutria that feed on plants. To stay warm in the water for so long, otters have incredibly thick fur, and very fast metabolisms, which means they need to eat a lot – 20% of their body weight per day, during certain months. The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, cr… Looking to meet Ralph and Selma for yourself? Otters like shallow water with plenty of fish. They catch prey with their teeth. Here, we’ll present some amazing facts about otters, including their habitat, what they like to eat, and just why they like to hold hands with each other. Your support helps us protect the future of that wildlife and helps us inspire people to value nature. Otters are carnivores, and will eat a large quantity of fish, crayfish, frogs, crabs, insects and small birds in the area that they live because they must consume their weight in food every day to live. The sea otter, one of the 13 otter species, is considered the smallest marine mammal in the world. on 15/10/2019. At Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth, we have Ralph and Selma, a pair of 14-year-old otters both born in the same litter within the enclosure they still live in! To stay warm in the water for so long, otters have incredibly thick fur, and very fast metabolisms, which means they need to eat a lot – 20% of their body weight per day, during certain months. A large male may consume as much as 11 kg (25 lb.) Otters are meat eaters. Quiet back waters of the Norfolk broads, reed-fringed freshwater dykes and many of Norfolk’s rivers including the Wensum, Bure, Yare and Nar provide just these conditions. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. The low life expectancy for some species of otter is down to a few things, including habitat destruction, deforestation, the pet and fur trade, and also their high metabolism. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. They enjoy carp, sunfish, minnows, suckers, sculpin and salmonids such as trout and salmon. Otters share similarities with other mammals, especially those found within the same family: the mustelidae. Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. An otter can roam 10kms in one night. Otters are accustomed to preying on live animals; hunting is an integral part of … We talked to one of our trainers about what it’s like spending time with these two amazing creatures. In the wild, most species of otter feed on fish and crustaceans, with river otters feeding on prey like freshwater fish, mussels, crabs, crayfish and frogs, and saltwater otters eating marine prey such as shellfish, sea urchins and shrimp. One species of otter is native to the UK: the Eurasian or European otter, which is found across Europe, even reaching some parts of Asia and Africa too. What do Otters Eat? In the UK, one of the biggest natural predators of Eurasian otters is birds of prey, which are likely to swoop down on small otter pups. River otters eat 15% to 20% of their total body weight each day. Otter families can be quite large, with some having around 20 members, and it’s common for the babies to stay within the same family. Droppings (spraints) and footprints are more likely to be seen than the actual animal. How to prevent otters predating fisheries and ponds. Newborns are only about 12cm long but grow quickly and can swim at three months. Incredible Facts About This Amazing Animal, Junior Aquarist and VIP Behind the Scenes Experience, The Daily Routine of an Otter in the Wild, Meet the Otters at Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth. However, the marine otter and the sea otter live within coastal habitats, spending the majority of their lives at the coast. The primary source of food for the Otter is fish. Their carnivorous diet is wide-ranging – Roger Cottis once watched an otter drag a conger eel from the sea and devour every inch of it, and if they had the choice, otters would probably dine exclusively on … The Wildlife Information Service is here to give advice and answer any questions you may have about Norfolk’s wildlife. The planning process has an important part to play in safeguarding the future of our wildlife and the environments they inhabit. Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack, Otter Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. 4. at NWT Hickling Most species have webbed feet, and all have long, sensitive whiskers and thick, water-repellent fur. Where can I see Shetland otters? So, a 50-pound otter would need to eat about 10-15 pounds of food per day. Throughout the year. Although once considered to be on the brink of extinction in the wild across the UK, it’s now recorded that otters can be found in almost all counties, though it’s a rare and lucky occurrence to see these mammals in the wild. “We also do a daily feed and talk at 2pm, when the otters are given their lunch whilst a 10/15-minute talk is given by an animal care team member. A fish farmer who claims his business was ruined after otters ate all of his 22,000 prized carp has been told his argument for damages is "hopeless". River otter species can be either, though most are usually more active at night. Reproduction In England and Wales otter cubs, usually in litters of two or three, can be born at any time of the year. The body is dense, cylindrical, oblong, and the paws are short and strong. Their habitats can differ from species to species. at Strumpshaw Fen Otters may also occasionally prey on birds, rabbits, and rodents. of food daily. All otters are expert hunters that eat fish, crustaceans, and other critters. at NWT Cley Being a semi-aquatic and nocturnal creature does, though, make this furtive animal difficult to spot. 7: Never remove spraints (dung). In the spring, frogs are an important food item. Dawn and dusk are the most likely times to chance upon an otter. Pet otters eat a lot. Otters will mainly feed on fish (40-90% of their diet)and will take a variety of species depending on the time of year, species such as carp, stickleback and eels. Otters were released by the Otter Trust in Norfolk between 1984 and 1997 with the approval of the statutory conservation bodies existing at the time; there have been no releases since then (other than orphaned otters which are released by the RSPCA as close as possible to the location that they came from). on 28/08/2018. You can watch an otter eat an octopus in the above video. Sea otters are the only species of otter to exhibit this behaviour whilst sleeping, resting and eating to ensure group members do not drift off with the currents. 5. At times our otters can be quite playful with the keepers. This conservation success story is the result of both better legal protection for otters and the banning of the pesticides which poisoned them. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. The elusive otter is one of our top predators, feeding mainly on fish (particularly eels and salmonids), waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans. Today though, otters have returned to most of their former haunts in Norfolk. Many otters eat tough food, particularly sea otters that inhabit the shallow coastal waters of the northern Pacific. Otters are largely solitary, semi-aquatic mammals that get most of their food from lochs, rivers or the sea. In the UK IOSF is the only charity solely dedicated to the conservation, protection and care of otters based on years of scientific research in the UK and around the world. Plus, one of our trainers is on hand to introduce you to the otters that you can encounter for yourself! Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that they indulge in food that can be found in and around rivers. They will also feed on mussels and limpets on the seashore and when on land they hunt down frogs, waterfowl, voles and even rabbits. An otter’s daily routine would usually focus on two main things: sleeping and finding/eating food. Sea otters can live around 10-15 years, whereas Eurasian otters are lucky to reach 4-years-old in the wild. Cubs are usually born in a holt in a bank, or between rocks or tree roots. Otters prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. When they are hungry for larger game, otters will attack birds, young beavers, and muskrats. Sea otters eat a wide variety of prey, including marine invertebrates such as echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), crustaceans (e.g., crabs), cephalopods (e.g., squid), bivalves (clams, mussels, abalone), gastropods (snails), and chitons. Otters have to eat a massive 25% of their body weight every day to maintain weight, and because of their high metabolism, they have to spend around 60% of their time hunting and the other 40% resting. All in all, the sea otter preys on at least 100 different marine species. Sea otters are even able to drink sea water, as their kidneys are large enough to extract fresh water from the sea water. The average otter is 1–1.3 metres in length, and weighs up to 9kg. There are many natural predators of otters, such as bobcats, coyotes, wolves, bears and foxes, as well sea lions, orcas, great white sharks, alligators and crocodiles. An adult otter needs to eat about 20% of its body weight per day. What do Otters Eat and Where Do They Live? Also the enemy is a man. In the spring, frogs are an important food item. However, when fish is scarce, they eat insects, frogs, birds and other mammals like rodents. Otters are accustomed to preying on live animals; hunting is an integral part of an otter’s life. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. Otter swimming in a still stream showing a good reflection There a bunch of different activities including cutting + tracing practice, do-a-dot pages, 4-part apology cards and more! River otters' main source of food is fish, but otters are opportunists by nature and will eat a wide variety of foods. Otters also have an acute sense of smell! Diet: Fish, especially eels and salmonids are eaten by the otter, and crayfish at certain times of the year. The number of otters is increasing in Norfolk. The Scottish population is estimated to be around 8000 otters. River otters are apex predators in their food web. Their short ears and noses, coupled with their dense, cuddly fur certainly make otters one of the sea’s most adorable examples of marine life – but there’s definitely more to them than being little charmers. What is the real level of risk to your pond and can you do anything about it? Joining us today makes a real difference to Norfolk. The otter is a fish hunter, though it happily eats waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans too, including American signal crayfish. The otter increase Otter numbers in the UK had dropped very low by the 1970s, partly due to the effects of certain pesticides. Otter numbers in the UK have increased slightly in recent years but the Eurasian otter is still classed as … The types of them will depend on the season as well as where they happen to live. Below, an otter catches and brings a crab ashore to eat. With its broad head and long, wide tail the otter has a very distinctive appearance and is easily identified. Discover Norfolk's wildlife, from our majestic marsh harriers to stunning swallowtail butterflies. As much as I really shouldn’t anthropomorphise these wild animals, I’m afraid I do. The majority of species, including the Asian short-clawed otter, the Eurasian otter, marine otter, giant otter and hairy-nose otter, are known to have a gestation period of up to 9 weeks. Coastal otters in Shetland eat bottom-living species such as eelpout, rockling and butterfish. In some areas, this is a protected species, and some places have otter sanctuaries that help sick and injured otters to recover. Their gestation period is 9 weeks and they can breed at any time of the year, although this usually occurs in spring. Do you have a question about Norfolk's wildlife? A carnivorous family of mammals that also includes minks, polecats, weasels, ferrets and badgers, they all share non-retractable claws, a long body with short legs and a high metabolism, so they can eat more than usual without gaining weight.Â. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. In the UK otters can only really be confused with the introduced American mink, but otters are much larger (95-130cm in length, including tail), with a distinctive white throat. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). 6: NEVER BAIT AREAS OR OTTERS. If opportunity presents itself, an otter will eat a … Otters prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Doing so may change otter behaviour patterns and will be VERY detrimental to the species. Otters are apex predators and therefore what they eat and how they are doing is a great indicator of the lochs overall health. We all love talking about the otters and our other animals, so are always open for questions throughout the day from visitors.”. on 13/11/2019. Cley Calling Presents: Megan McCubbin And Chris Packham, Walking on the Edge of Norfolk - CANCELLED, NWT receives grant of £166,600 from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, Killer shrimp discovered in Trinity Broads, Remembering Richard Waddingham – farmer and pond conservationist. Otter at Strumpshaw Fen by Elizabeth Dack. With the ability to smell concentrations of fish and their high metabolisms, otters spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. From a conservation point of view, only the North American river otter is considered to be of ‘Least Concern’, and isn’t the focus of conservation. They’ve become like my wild, extended family. They have webbed feet for swimming, dense fur for warmth, and can close their ears and nose underwater. Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. They aren’t picky eaters though as they will consume just about anything they can find to survive on. “We can even use this to weigh them weekly by holding our fists over scales, getting them onto their hind legs to show us their underbellies or even to do some agility training over platforms to see how well their limbs are working. Cute and full of charisma, the otters at Blue Reef Aquarium are some of our visitors’ favourite animals. Sea otters have a high metabolic rate (that is, they use a high amount of energy) that is 2-3 times that of other mammals their size. Why Otter Population in the UK Dropped From the wild north coast to the sandy heaths of Breckland, the Norfolk Broads to ancient woodlands, Norfolk’s diverse habitats are home to a stunning variety of wildlife. River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. During mealtimes, we separate them out to keep food aggression to an absolute minimum, but like most siblings, Ralph and Selma can get a little angry with each other. Like weasels, otters have short legs and long flexible bodies. They leave the protection of their mothers at 10 – 12 months and can breed at 2 years old. The otter we see in the UK is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra). They have a unique foraging habit because they use rocks to kill their prey. What do otters eat? Most otters can’t survive without access to fresh water. How do I tell the difference between a mink and an otter? Cape clawless and Asian small-clawed otters feed mainly on crabs and other crustaceans, molluscs, and frogs. The exception is the sea otter, which gives birth to its young in the water and keeps its pups on the mother’s underbelly until they are old enough to swim themselves. Fish, especially eels and salmonids are eaten, and crayfish at certain times of the year. However, due to the fur trade, illegal pet trade and problems with fishermen, the biggest predator of otters are actually humans. What sort of things have you trained them to do? River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds. They also eat crustaceans, frogs and even small water birds. I have spent more time over the last two months in the company of wild otters than I have with other adult humans. This helps them make tight turns underwater as they chase after prey. Giant otters eat mainly fishes and crabs. They know that if they do this, they will receive a piece of food. Despite their sleek bodies, these mammals can eat food amounting to as much as 25% of their body weight. Do Unto Otters Preschool Pack - Simply Learning Here is a free printable pack that I designed to go along with the book Do Unto Otters. Every event is enjoyable for all ages, making them a wonderful way for families to explore the natural world together. Giant otters and sea otters spend most of their days awake and about. Otters living in zoos and aquariums are likely to live far past their average life span to almost double or triple years. These are very important, as they are used to communicate with other otters. The North American river otter and sea otter, meanwhile, can have gestation periods of 4-12 months. UK otters live on the coast in in freshwater generic nolvadex bodybuilding rivers and lakes. What Do Otters Eat Regularly? Sea otters eat about 25% to 30% of their weight. For more information on how to see them, as well as Blue Reef Aquarium’s incredible array of other marine life, be sure to visit the homepage. 8: Stay aware. © FLPA/ Alamy Stock Photo They will also use some of their day to groom in between rest periods, as otters do not sleep once a day like humans would; they have several rest periods throughout the day and night. The sea otter is only found in salt water, where it prefers to eat invertebrates such as shellfish. Thus, the sea otter is one of the very few mammals to make an effective use of tools (t… An otter’s ‘range’ depends on whether an area has enough food for the otter to be able to survive, for example, Eurasian otters’ range can be anywhere from 2 miles to up to 20 miles. Since then, due to safer use of agro-chemicals and deliberate protection measures for otters, their numbers have steadily increased. Otters are adapted to life on both land and in water. Some other common items that they will … Otter Diet: Otters live near water because it provides them with everything they need—including food. NWT Ranworth Broad and NWT Barton Broad are just two places where otters are regularly recorded in Norfolk. Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and ducks. This means if Otters are going well, we can look at activities that have happened and do more of it, like our oyster reintroduction - see below. An adult otter needs to eat about 20% of its body weight per day. As aquatic mammals, otters spend most of their time in the water. The otter’s droppings are known as spraint and otters use them to mark their territories. We are on the hunt for images of particular species in Norfolk... have you managed to snap one? Otters are now very common along the coast of Norway and in Northern Britain, especially Shetland where 12% of the UK breeding population exist. Therefore, they tend to be prolific and efficient hunters, preferring prey that’s slow and easy to catch. What can visitors expect from their experience of otters at Blue Reef Aquarium? The young otters are hunted by sharks, predatory seabirds and animals. Support conservation campaigns to protect wetland areas and ensure our rivers and waterways are free from pollution. Sea otters and also the African Clawless Otter have broad molar teeth for crushing shellfish whereas the teeth of the European otter are narrower for slicing through fish. Fish are relatively insignificant in their diets. Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack. damage or destroy an otter’s breeding or resting site. Volunteers play a very important part in the success of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and we really value their support and commitment. Unlike other otters, having a soft undercoat, sea otters possess fur with thick hard hair. And if you get lucky, what you might see otters catch and eat. They’re renowned for preying on hard-shelled marine invertebrates, including abalones, sea urchins, clams, mussels and crabs, usually fracturing the shells with their teeth. An otters diet mainly consists of fish, however, it can also include birds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and small mammals. All but one species uses inland dens to give birth and look after their young, while protecting them from predators. There are a variety of different otter species found within zoos and aquariums in the UK, most commonly the Asian Short-clawed otter, but other species such as giant otters and sea otters can also be found. “We do a training move wherein we offer out our closed fist above the otter’s head that they touch with their nose. However, when fish is scarce, they eat insects, frogs, birds and other mammals like rodents. on 03/10/2019. Events taking place for all the family to enjoy, Support your local Wildlife Trust – buy your bird food from Vine House Farm, Six visitor centres around Norfolk, getting you closer to wildlife. deliberately kill, injure or take an otter from the wild without a licence; deliberately disturb an otter in its resting place or. River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. During the spring months amphibians form a large part of their diet. In 2. Sea otters have an ingenious method to open shellfish. Otter populations crashed to near extinction across most of lowland England by the mid 1970’s as a result of pesticide poisoning, loss of habitat and hunting. However, it often leaves tell tale signs behind. Visitors are also more likely to smell our otters before even seeing them, they love to scent mark, which helps us to do lots of enrichment by introducing different scents or even moving around their enclosure every day. Please remain aware of how the otter is behaving. Their diet consists of roughly 80% fish, but they will prey upon birds, mammals and frogs if fish are in short supply. River otters' main source of food is fish, but otters are opportunists by nature and will eat a wide variety of foods. Come and discover wildlife as a family! Together we can save Norfolk's wildlife - become a member today. They will also feed on mussels and limpets on the seashore and when on land they hunt down frogs, waterfowl, voles and even rabbits. Our otters at the sanctuary are fed a variety of fish including salmon, trout, eels and a food mix … Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack, Juvenile otter Otters weigh 35-90 pounds (males weigh more than females). The otter diet consists mainly of fish and crawfish, but they also consume toads, frogs, reptiles, and even small mammals. How … Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and … River otters and giant otters hunt by using their vibrissae to detect movements of prey in the water. The otters have thick, hard fur of a brownish color, a light belly and a muzzle. Contributed by: David Jackson, Two otters nose to nose in the dyke It is worth pointing out that since the 1970s, otters have also spread naturally from western lowland England back across the Midlands into eastern England, so the release programme simply speeded up their natural re-colonisation of Norfolk. Otters are well suited to a life on the water as they have webbed feet, dense fur to keep them warm, and can close their ears and nose when underwater. As well as fish, otters sometimes consume crustaceans (such as crayfish and crabs), amphibians and even insects, waterbirds and small mammals. A Eurasian otter feeding on a common roach caught in a river in Thetford. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. As the Asian short-clawed otter is the least aquatic species of otter, I love coming in some mornings and seeing them swimming in their provided pool and playing with each other.”. 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. The primary diet of sea otters consists of aquatic invertebrates including crustaceans, sea urchins, mollusks and fish. The Asian short-clawed otter, which can be found in mountainous areas away from large sources of water, can also hunt ground-nesting birds and rodents. Eurasian otters are indigenous to the UK and can be found in either fresh or salt water, although it’s usually known as the river otter for the obvious reason. Shetland Otters. In Norfolk by the 1970s most traditional otter sites were deserted and whole river systems no longer supported any otters. at River Bure All other species of otter are recorded as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Endangered. What do otters eat? Mating occurs at any time of the year and females give birth to 2 – 3 cubs, usually between May and August. 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Eat bottom-living species such as eelpout, rockling and butterfish even small.! Breed at any time of the 13 otter species can be either, though it happily waterbirds. The season as well as where they happen to live in a river in Thetford birds such as eelpout rockling! Periods of 4-12 months the actual animal, where it prefers to eat about 25 % to 30 of... Longer supported any otters: Elizabeth Dack, otter at NWT Hickling on 03/10/2019 Norfolk have! During the spring, frogs are an important food item eat mainly fish, especially those found within same... The biggest predator of otters at Blue Reef Aquarium are some of our trainers is on hand to you.