Keen otter spotters say that the next few weeks could be the prime time to see an otter in their local rivers and waterways, some reporting a 70% success rate in their outings to see the rare animals.
Otters have been on the brink of extinction in Britain since the 1980, due to several issues such as water pollution, hunting and infections, and they now are protected by law against being killed, kept or sold.
Back in 1911, it was believed there were fewer than 2,000 otters, so the Fur Seal Treaty was implemented to preserve the species. Then, in the 1970s, otters were listed under the Endangered Species Act for further preservation. Thankfully, since the law’s implementation, numbers have begun to rise.
The last 10 years have seen an incredible recovery, with numbers increasing almost 40% between 2008 and 2011 and, although numbers have substantially risen, the population is still not as healthy as it once was.
Otter spotters have noted that the transition from summer to winter brings the otters closer to towns, making this the beginning of the prime season to see one of these special, playful creatures. The best time of day to take a peek at otters is early to mid-morning and the most important factor in otter spotting is patience. At this time of day, you will usually find them lingering around the water’s edge, near the entrance to their burrows.
Key signs of an otter’s presence are usually their distinctive droppings or holes in the water banks and surrounding ground. Once you find signs of these mysterious creatures, it is certainly worth visiting the site, daily if possible, to catch a glimpse.
Embrace this great opportunity and get out and about for a spot of otter spotting! Don’t forget your wet weather gear
when you go; you can never be too sure of the British weather!
Images: Peter Trimming
under Creative Commons