On September 14th an otter was spotted in the sea, travelling along the edge of the pier in New Quay, Wales. As a rare sight, this was first thought of as a seal, or a strange- looking dolphin, but no it was definitely an otter. As it was swimming around quite happily in the sea it was presumed it must have been a sea otter (as it was an otter in the SEA), but no… later research discovered it to be a river otter. It turns out that river otters never got the memo about being in rivers. They travel to wherever they fancy, from ponds to lakes, to rivers and lagoons, they are very flexible animals. In fact, sea otters are only found in the Northern Pacific Ocean. Eurasian otters (the more formal term for a common River Otter) are found around Europe, Asia and Africa.
Otters have inhabited the Earth for over 30 million years and have 13 different species around the world, including the Sea Otter, African Clawless Otter, Giant Otter and European Otter. They all have individual swimming, feeding and socialising patterns.
An adult Sea Otter can grow to approximately 4 ft in length and 65 lbs in weight. They can live up to 23 years of age and have a diet mostly consisting of mollusks and crustaceans. In comparison, their European cousin is slightly larger and lighter, with the males reaching 4.2 ft head to tail and the females being slightly smaller. Their body weight can range between 15 to 30 lbs depending on the time of year. The Eurasian Otters are frequent fish eaters, with fish making up over 80% of their diet. Unfortunately, although the Eurasian Otters have been recorded to live between 8-12 years, they only have a life expectancy of around four years of age. The conservation status of Eurasian Otters has been a concern in the UK since the mid 1950’s. This decline is proved to be predominantly due to the use of organochlorine pesticides in agricultural practices. Conservation charities such as the Marine Conservation Society are working to help protect the UK otters from extinction.
The Sea Watch Foundation