Otter (Lutra lutra)

Otter © Darin Smith


Otters are one the UK’s top predators. Otters are well adapted to living on the water by having webbed feet allowing them to swim quickly and dense fur keeping them warm. Otter cubs are born in burrows known as Holts and after 10 weeks will have become great swimmers. In Wiltshire, Otter numbers have been slowly recovering although their populations are still fragmented.


Otters feed on mostly fish but do also eat water birds, amphibians and crustaceans.

How to Track/Identify?

Otters can be but confused for a Mink, but Otters are much larger in size, have a more powerful body, have paler grey-brown fur, broader snout and broader, pale chest and throat.

Did you know?

  • Otters can stay submerged for up to 4 minutes and can reach speeds of up to 7 miles per hour underwater
  • An Otters tail is a foot long and makes up around a third of an Otter’s body
  • Otters have two different ways of swimming through the water, first by using their webbed feet while if they want to move much faster they use their whole body to propel themselves through the water.

Reserves where they are present

Lower Moor Farm, Smallbrook Meadows, Langford Lakes

Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBank VoleBadger, Brown HareGrey Squirrel, Hazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

Print out a copy of the Otter fact sheet

If you'd like to help us continue to look after habitats for otters in Wiltshire, you can purchase an otter gift box from our shop, or donate here.