Otter - Lutra lutra


The elusive Common Otter has sleek brown fur, which is often paler on the underside, and a long lithe body with a thick tail and short legs. Adaptations for an aquatic lifestyle include webbed feet, the ability to close its small ears and its nose when under water, and very dense, short fur which traps a layer of air to insulate the animal.

Similar Species

Otters are larger than Mink and have a black nose compared to the Mink's pink nose.

Identification difficulty

Found by clean rivers, lakes and along coasts.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

Breeding can occur throughout the year; two or three cubs are usually born in a den known as a holt, and 10 weeks later the cubs emerge above ground with their mother. Otter mothers care for their offspring for about a year; it may take the cubs up to 18 months to learn to fish and the mother helps this learning process by releasing live fish for the cubs to re-catch.

UK Status

Uncommon, but widespread, nationally.

VC55 Status

Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland. A population re-established in our area in the 1990s; some animals were released by conservationists in Rutland, but there has also been some natural re-colonisation and numbers seem to be growing.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map