Happy International Otter Day!
Otters can be recognised by their long, sleek bodies, long tails and short legs. Otters can be found all over Ireland, wherever there is a body of water. They can live anywhere from small streams, to rivers and along coastal areas.
The species of otter found in Ireland is called the Eurasian otter, and can be found throughout Europe. An otter’s home is called a holt. Holts can have multiple entrances usually found underwater or among tree roots. Otters mainly eat fish, especially salmon or trout. However, they will also eat smaller fish, and sometimes even frogs, small mammals or birds. Otters use their sensitive whiskers to detect prey underwater.
Otters are very social creatures and love to play together, even when as adults. Otters will even link paws with each other while floating in the water! They are very vocal and communicate by sound.
Female otters reproduce once a year. Litters are usually small, containing two or three cubs, but can occasionally reach five. Otters can stay with their mothers for up to one year, learning to hunt. An otter’s average life span is 5 years.
Otters & You
Otters are hard to spot in the wild, but you can look for signs. Otters mark their territory with their droppings, or ‘spraints’. They have distinctive webbed pawprints which you can look out for in muddy areas. Although it is rewarding to look out for an otter, remember they are wild animals, and it is important not to disturb their natural habitat.
Find out more about Otters and other amazing wildlife creatures!
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Check out our project page dedicated to the Otters wildlife in Cork and our Facebook page.