British or European Otter

The British or European Otter Lutra lutra

The British otter is also known as the European or Eurasian otter because of its vast geographical distribution. Lutra lutra has historically occupied a broad range from Ireland in the west to Japan in the east and the arctic north to the semi-desert of North Africa. Within this range there are 10 recognised subspecies. However today it is scarce or totally absent from many parts of this range as a result of the usual environmental problems namely hunting, habitat loss and pollution.

English Otter at Otters and Butterflies, Devon

The British population is now increasing and one of the largest in Europe. They tend to be found along rivers, streams, lakes and marshes as well as around certain coastlines. Although they do swim and feed in the sea they are not sea otters. The genuine Sea Otter is a different species found off the west coast of North America.

English or European Otter