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Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. Methods of Collecting Food. The river otter food chain consists mostly of fish. In the spring, frogs are an important food item. River otters and giant otters hunt by using their vibrissae to detect movements of prey in the water. 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.”. Thus, the sea otter is one of the very few mammals to make an effective use of tools (t… Sea otters are even able to drink sea water, as their kidneys are large enough to extract fresh water from the sea water. “My favourite part of working with our otters is learning about their individual personalities, watching their eating habits and the things they each like to do when awake and around their enclosure. These are very important, as they are used to communicate with other otters. We talked to one of our trainers about what it’s like spending time with these two amazing creatures. The Wildlife Information Service is here to give advice and answer any questions you may have about Norfolk’s wildlife. “We do a training move wherein we offer out our closed fist above the otter’s head that they touch with their nose. Their diet consists of roughly 80% fish, but they will prey upon birds, mammals and frogs if fish are in short supply. Giant otters and sea otters spend most of their days awake and about. 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 apex predators and therefore what they eat and how they are doing is a great indicator of the lochs overall health. They have a unique foraging habit because they use rocks to kill their prey. 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. 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. They are carnivorous, and most species eat a variety of fish, amphibians, shellfish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. on 28/08/2018. Otters prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Why Otter Population in the UK Dropped An adult otter needs to eat about 20% of its body weight per day. 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. Otter numbers in the UK have increased slightly in recent years but the Eurasian otter is still classed as … All other species of otter are recorded as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Endangered. Be warned, it’s rather gruesome viewing with the tentacle-less octopus changing colour as it’s being eaten alive. And if you get lucky, what you might see otters catch and eat. Our otters at the sanctuary are fed a variety of fish including salmon, trout, eels and a food mix … Contributed by: David Jackson, Two otters nose to nose in the dyke Cute and full of charisma, the otters at Blue Reef Aquarium are some of our visitors’ favourite animals. 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. 2. UK otters live on the coast in in freshwater generic nolvadex bodybuilding rivers and lakes. The otter increase Otter numbers in the UK had dropped very low by the 1970s, partly due to the effects of certain pesticides. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Scottish population is estimated to be around 8000 otters. Otter swimming in a still stream showing a good reflection 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. 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. © FLPA/ Alamy Stock Photo With the ability to smell concentrations of fish and their high metabolisms, otters spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. 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. Together we can save Norfolk's wildlife - become a member today. Otters like shallow water with plenty of fish. 5. at Strumpshaw Fen One of their favourite games to play is when we get our waders on and get into their pool using a net, they like to sneak up behind us and when we turn around they swim off – they absolutely love it!”. Most otters can’t survive without access to fresh water. However, it often leaves tell tale signs behind. 7: Never remove spraints (dung). What do Otters Eat? Otters tend to live in a holt, which is normally a hole in a river or lakeside bank or in a tree root. How do I tell the difference between a mink and an otter? Come and discover wildlife as a family! River otters' main source of food is fish, but otters are opportunists by nature and will eat a wide variety of foods. 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. In Norfolk by the 1970s most traditional otter sites were deserted and whole river systems no longer supported any otters. The planning process has an important part to play in safeguarding the future of our wildlife and the environments they inhabit. 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. Fish, especially eels and salmonids are eaten, and crayfish at certain times of the year. Volunteers play a very important part in the success of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and we really value their support and commitment. Otters declined catastrophically throughout England in the late 1950s. 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. However, it’s also known that the young ones will stay with their mother until they are mature enough to start their own families. The otters have thick, hard fur of a brownish color, a light belly and a muzzle. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. Coastal otters in Shetland eat bottom-living species such as eelpout, rockling and butterfish. on 13/11/2019. During the spring months amphibians form a large part of their diet. Besides, they also prefer to eat crabs, large barnacles, mussels, snails, tubeworms, clams, squid, octopuses, chitons, scallops, sea cucumbers, sea stars and abalone. 4. Their gestation period is 9 weeks and they can breed at any time of the year, although this usually occurs in spring. In the spring, frogs are an important food item. 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. River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. 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. As well as fish, otters sometimes consume crustaceans (such as crayfish and crabs), amphibians and even insects, waterbirds and small mammals. 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. 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). 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 know that if they do this, they will receive a piece of food. The young otters are hunted by sharks, predatory seabirds and animals. damage or destroy an otter’s breeding or resting site. Also the enemy is a man. The number of otters is increasing in Norfolk. The primary source of food for the Otter is fish. Pet otters eat a lot. When they are hungry for larger game, otters will attack birds, young beavers, and muskrats. Cubs are usually born in a holt in a bank, or between rocks or tree roots. 8: Stay aware. In 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 prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. What is the real level of risk to your pond and can you do anything about it? We all love talking about the otters and our other animals, so are always open for questions throughout the day from visitors.”. However, when fish is scarce, they eat insects, frogs, birds and other mammals like rodents. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. 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. The average otter is 1–1.3 metres in length, and weighs up to 9kg. The types of them will depend on the season as well as where they happen to live. Sea otters have an ingenious method to open shellfish. Otters weigh 35-90 pounds (males weigh more than females). Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack, Juvenile otter 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. An otter can roam 10kms in one night. Otters are accustomed to preying on live animals; hunting is an integral part of … Since then, due to safer use of agro-chemicals and deliberate protection measures for otters, their numbers have steadily increased. Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and … 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. Most species have webbed feet, and all have long, sensitive whiskers and thick, water-repellent fur. Discover Norfolk's wildlife, from our majestic marsh harriers to stunning swallowtail butterflies. The North American river otter and sea otter, meanwhile, can have gestation periods of 4-12 months. Called a ‘raft’, the act has also been thought to be mating behaviour as competition between males can be fierce; some males like to hold the hands of their mates to make sure the female is not taken by another male. Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack, Otter Otters are accustomed to preying on live animals; hunting is an integral part of an otter’s life. An otters diet mainly consists of fish, however, it can also include birds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and small mammals. They enjoy carp, sunfish, minnows, suckers, sculpin and salmonids such as trout and salmon. 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. With the ability to smell concentrations of fish and their high metabolisms, otters spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. deliberately kill, injure or take an otter from the wild without a licence; deliberately disturb an otter in its resting place or. Droppings (spraints) and footprints are more likely to be seen than the actual animal. at NWT Cley 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. Otter at Strumpshaw Fen by Elizabeth Dack. 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. If opportunity presents itself, an otter will eat a … You can watch an otter eat an octopus in the above video. They also eat crustaceans, frogs and even small water birds. Doing so may change otter behaviour patterns and will be VERY detrimental to the species. As much as I really shouldn’t anthropomorphise these wild animals, I’m afraid I do. All but one species uses inland dens to give birth and look after their young, while protecting them from predators. Unlike other otters, having a soft undercoat, sea otters possess fur with thick hard hair. What Do Otters Eat Regularly? 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. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and ducks. 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 may also occasionally prey on birds, rabbits, and rodents. It depends on the species and whether they live in the wild or not. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. The sea otter, one of the 13 otter species, is considered the smallest marine mammal in the world. Otters are adapted to life on both land and in water. Dawn and dusk are the most likely times to chance upon an otter. In some areas, this is a protected species, and some places have otter sanctuaries that help sick and injured otters to recover. At times our otters can be quite playful with the keepers. Plus, one of our trainers is on hand to introduce you to the otters that you can encounter for yourself! “They can expect high levels of cuteness from our otters, like when Ralph is juggling his pebbles or Selma does her scent-marking dance around the enclosure. Your support helps us protect the future of that wildlife and helps us inspire people to value nature. In the wild there are 13 different species of otter, and they’re found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. 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! 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. Otter Diet: Otters live near water because it provides them with everything they need—including food. Sea otters eat about 20-30% of their body weight each day. This helps them make tight turns underwater as they chase after prey. We are on the hunt for images of particular species in Norfolk... have you managed to snap one? “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. 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. However, due to the fur trade, illegal pet trade and problems with fishermen, the biggest predator of otters are actually humans. The otter’s droppings are known as spraint and otters use them to mark their territories. Many otters eat tough food, particularly sea otters that inhabit the shallow coastal waters of the northern Pacific. They will also feed on mussels and limpets on the seashore and when on land they hunt down frogs, waterfowl, voles and even rabbits. 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. How … River otter species can be either, though most are usually more active at night. Please remain aware of how the otter is behaving. Some other common items that they will … Otters also have an acute sense of smell! They have webbed feet for swimming, dense fur for warmth, and can close their ears and nose underwater. River otters eat 15% to 20% of their total body weight each day. Below, an otter catches and brings a crab ashore to eat. 3. They’ve become like my wild, extended family. Excellent and lithe swimmers, the young are in the water by 10 weeks of age. With its broad head and long, wide tail the otter has a very distinctive appearance and is easily identified. Giant otters eat mainly fishes and crabs. Contributed by: Elizabeth Dack. Otters living in zoos and aquariums are likely to live far past their average life span to almost double or triple years. on 03/10/2019. All in all, the sea otter preys on at least 100 different marine species. 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 these highly nutritious delicacies. NWT Ranworth Broad and NWT Barton Broad are just two places where otters are regularly recorded in Norfolk. Throughout the year. Because otters eat mainly fish, you’ll generally find them in areas where there are plenty of this food source. What can visitors expect from their experience of otters at Blue Reef Aquarium? When were Otters reintroduced to Norfolk? at NWT Hickling Newborns are only about 12cm long but grow quickly and can swim at three months. 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