The staple diet of our native otter in the wild is fish (with eels being particularly favoured in the summer), frogs, small birds and eggs. Small mammals may also be eaten.
Its not only the abundance of a particular food source that is important but also how easy it is to catch. Slow moving coarse fish are easier to catch than trout or salmon, but these may be taken from time to time, perhaps when they are spawning.
Sea otters and coastal otters have a different range of prey to choose which often includes a variety of invertebrates such as mussels and crabs as well as fish. Sea otters and also the African Clawless Otter have broad molar teeth for crushing shellfish whereas the teeth of the European otter are narrower for slicing through fish.
Our otters at the sanctuary are fed a variety of fish including salmon, trout, eels and a food mix consisting mostly of fresh minced beef and biscuit meal. Dead day-old chicks are also fed and are useful source of roughage.
Did You Know?
Otters will in fact catch a range of prey since they are opportunists. They have been known to eat rats, shrews, mice, voles and water fowl, the young of these species being most at risk