Sunday, May 11, 2008

Otters at the British Wildlife centre

After spending some time with the foxes we moved on to the otters.They have several pairs . We were warned that they do bite and not to touch them. In one of the photos you can just see my shoe which was nibbled by the female otter. It was very hot and the sun was reflecting off the water so we had to keep moving around to find the best positions to avoid the glare.

The otter is a large member of the weasel family (mustelids) with an amphibious lifestyle. In the wild they are elusive, secretive animals and live in undisturbed rivers, streams and estuaries. In the early 1960’s they were on the verge of extinction due to river pollution, habitat loss and hunting. Now with full legal protection, cleaner rivers and managed habitat it is returning to its former haunts, although its distribution will always be limited by the availability of fish The male otter is called a dog and the female a bitch. They have large lungs and can stay submerged under water for 4 minutes, often swimming 400 metres before resurfacing. They can reach speeds of 12 km/h under water and can outrun man on land.

The males occupy large ranges, which may include up to 20 km of river bank and daily travel long distances along regular routes by the margins of the river.


Britt-Arnhild said...

I am amazed that they were not more afraid of you?

Island Rambles Blog said...

WOW getting that close to a river otter is unusual...I think as around here they are not very friendly...really nice pictures Mary....I am here catching up on lost posts of yours...I don't want to miss any of your posts...I really admire your blog and also admire your ability have longevity in always consistently doing a great blog each day when it is sometimes exhausting to do this.

Anonymous said...

Mary your photos are just awesome! Love Kayt xx

Sandpiper said...

I love how he's standing up for you to take his picture! :) Beautiful!