At The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary we have a North American Otter, Lewis.
North American Otters are found throughout Alaska, Canada and the northern United States. They are slightly larger than our native European otter and are probably the most numerous Otter species in the wild. Lewis, our Otter, is an excellent ambassador to help us promote Otter conservation as he is more active during the day than our native European Otter.
Otters have been adapting to their environment for over 2 million years, making them effective hunters on land and perfectly suited to life in the water. However, unless we look after them and their habitats we could lose some Otter Species.
By far the most common Otter is the Eurasian Otter, so named because they were once commonly found from the West coast of Ireland to Japan. However the Eurasian Otter, like all other Otter species, is under constant threat and is now extinct in Belgium and Switzerland, with population numbers outside Europe currently unknown.
The biggest threats to Otters are:
- Loss of habitat through urban development
- Water pollution and river bed engineering
- Disturbance of breeding sites from recreational activities
- Accidental deaths - i.e. road kill, drowning in eel nets etc.
Hopefully, with a better understanding of Otters and the dangers facing them, we can all do our bit to help the plight of our own native Otters and their relatives around the world.
Things to Do
- Meet our Otter up close - watch out, he is cheeky!
- Watch our Otter hunt for his food as part of his daily enrichment
- Enjoy the playful Otter target feeding
- See how he washes his food before eating it - clever little chap!