Bonus content here because we have enough space

european otter
(Lutra lutra)


Found throughout most of Europe, including the UK & Ireland. European otters can also be found on the northern tip of Africa.


Found in rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and along rocky coasts.

biological characteristics

European otters are members of the weasel family that have taken to water. They can grow to almost a metre in length. Males are larger than females. They have a sleek, streamlined body with a thick tail that tapers to a point. The limbs are short and the feet are webbed, the toes ending in sharp claws. They have long whiskers which are very sensitive to touch. Their sense of sight, smell and hearing is acute. They communicate with whistles and snarls.

conservation status

European otters are threatened throughout their range.


  • Oil produced by the skin acts as a water repellent and is so effective that the skin never gets wet.

  • The European otter has no known enemy but man.

  • European otters eat crustaceans and fish (particularly eels), insects, birds, frogs and baby rabbits.

  • European otters have flaps over their ears and nose that close shut while the otter is swimming. The eyes, however, remain open under water.

fact file

The black-plumed chough became a symbol of Cornwall because of its legendary link with King Arthur.