At The Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary we have 2 North American Otters, Isla and 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 and Isla, our Otters, are excellent ambassadors to help us promote Otter conservation as they are 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 duo up close - watch out, they are cheeky!
- Watch our Otters hunt for their food as part of their daily enrichment
- Enjoy the playful Otters target feeding
- See how they wash their food before eating it - clever little chaps!