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European Otter


Common Name: European Otter
Scientific Name: Lutra lutra
Family: Mustelidae
Order: Carnivora
Size: Length Head / Body: 24 to 35 in (60 to 90 cm)
Tail Length: 14 to 18.5 in (35 to 47 cm)
Height at Shoulder: about 6 in (15 cm). Male about 20% bigger than female
Weight: 6 to 17 kg (13 to 37 lb)

European Otter

    The key features of European Otter are, it is long, slender body with short legs and long, tapering tail; light or dark-brown fur with broad, flattened head, small ears, and small eyes; all 4 feet are webbed.

    European Otter lives alone, swims and dives well but can be active on land; usually nocturnal, amy come out during the day.

    It breeds usually 2 to 3 cubs born after gestation period of 2 months; birth at any time of year in Western Europe, more seasonal in the north and east. Weaned at 4 months; sexually mature at 1 year. European Otter may live up to 15 years in the captivity and about 3 to 4 years in the wild.

    Its foods are slow-swimming fish, especially eels, but also mussels, shrimps, crabs and lobsters. European Otter occasionally shrill whistle, otherwise silent.


       It lives in the edges of rivers and lakes, often in reed beds; rocky coasts in some areas.

    European Otter distributed from Britain throughout most of western Europe east to China and Japan and also in the regions of south India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Sumatra and parts of North Africa.

    Its population is widespread but scarce. European Otter is declining in most areas; has become extinct in parts of Europe in the last 50 years.