The sea otter, one of the 13 otter species, is considered the smallest marine mammal in the world. They leave the protection of their mothers at 10 – 12 months and can breed at 2 years old. River otters' main source of food is fish, but otters are opportunists by nature and will eat a wide variety of foods. The river otter food chain also consists of mussels, bivalves, snails, cr… River otters are apex predators in their food web. The river otter food web plays a crucial role in the environments the river otter calls home. 8: Stay aware. Plus, one of our trainers is on hand to introduce you to the otters that you can encounter for yourself! Your support helps us protect the future of that wildlife and helps us inspire people to value nature. Otters share similarities with other mammals, especially those found within the same family: the mustelidae. Otter swimming in a still stream showing a good reflection The otter’s droppings are known as spraint and otters use them to mark their territories. Otters prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Most otters can’t survive without access to fresh water. One species of otter is native to the UK: the Eurasian or European otter, which is found across Europe, even reaching some parts of Asia and Africa too. However, when fish is scarce, they eat insects, frogs, birds and other mammals like rodents. There are a variety of different otter species found within zoos and aquariums in the UK, most commonly the Asian Short-clawed otter, but other species such as giant otters and sea otters can also be found. Our otters at the sanctuary are fed a variety of fish including salmon, trout, eels and a food mix … A Eurasian otter feeding on a common roach caught in a river in Thetford. The exception is the sea otter, which gives birth to its young in the water and keeps its pups on the mother’s underbelly until they are old enough to swim themselves. Pet otters eat a lot. In Norfolk by the 1970s most traditional otter sites were deserted and whole river systems no longer supported any otters. Also the enemy is a man. Their habitats can differ from species to species. They know that if they do this, they will receive a piece of food. Sea otters eat about 25% to 30% of their weight. Do you have a question about Norfolk's wildlife? Sea otters eat about 20-30% of their body weight each day. Their short ears and noses, coupled with their dense, cuddly fur certainly make otters one of the sea’s most adorable examples of marine life – but there’s definitely more to them than being little charmers. Sea otters have an ingenious method to open shellfish. 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. Dawn and dusk are the most likely times to chance upon an otter. of food daily. In the wild there are 13 different species of otter, and they’re found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Some other common items that they will … Otters may also occasionally prey on birds, rabbits, and rodents. In the spring, frogs are an important food item. Come and discover wildlife as a family! To stay warm in the water for so long, otters have incredibly thick fur, and very fast metabolisms, which means they need to eat a lot – 20% of their body weight per day, during certain months. Diet: Fish, especially eels and salmonids are eaten by the otter, and crayfish at certain times of the year. Fish are relatively insignificant in their diets. 7: Never remove spraints (dung). Eurasian otters are indigenous to the UK and can be found in either fresh or salt water, although it’s usually known as the river otter for the obvious reason. Sea otters eat a wide variety of prey, including marine invertebrates such as echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), crustaceans (e.g., crabs), cephalopods (e.g., squid), bivalves (clams, mussels, abalone), gastropods (snails), and chitons. Otters occasionally take water birds such as coots, moorhens and … Otters are now very common along the coast of Norway and in Northern Britain, especially Shetland where 12% of the UK breeding population exist. What Do Otters Eat Regularly? To stay warm in the water for so long, otters have incredibly thick fur, and very fast metabolisms, which means they need to eat a lot – 20% of their body weight per day, during certain months. They grow to one meter (3 to 4 ft) in length and weigh from five to 15 kilograms (10 to 30 lb). To see an otter in the wild demands not only being in the right place at the right time but also that you spot the otter before the otter spots you. The elusive otter is one of our top predators, feeding mainly on fish (particularly eels and salmonids), waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans. Giant otters eat mainly fishes and crabs. All in all, the sea otter preys on at least 100 different marine species. Cubs are usually born in a holt in a bank, or between rocks or tree roots. Thus, the sea otter is one of the very few mammals to make an effective use of tools (t… River otters prefer larger fish due to ease of capture; larger prey gives river otters more energy as well. The otter increase Otter numbers in the UK had dropped very low by the 1970s, partly due to the effects of certain pesticides. River otters eat a variety of fish and shellfish, as well as small land mammals and birds. River otters also prefer slower-moving fish to game fish. They’ve become like my wild, extended family. River otters are known to travel far to fish in other areas if they are finding it hard to find food. For more information on how to see them, as well as Blue Reef Aquarium’s incredible array of other marine life, be sure to visit the homepage. “We do a training move wherein we offer out our closed fist above the otter’s head that they touch with their nose. Otters are meat eaters. A carnivorous family of mammals that also includes minks, polecats, weasels, ferrets and badgers, they all share non-retractable claws, a long body with short legs and a high metabolism, so they can eat more than usual without gaining weight.Â. One of their favourite games to play is when we get our waders on and get into their pool using a net, they like to sneak up behind us and when we turn around they swim off – they absolutely love it!”. In some areas, this is a protected species, and some places have otter sanctuaries that help sick and injured otters to recover. As aquatic mammals, otters spend most of their time in the water. How to prevent otters predating fisheries and ponds. The otters have thick, hard fur of a brownish color, a light belly and a muzzle. Newborns are only about 12cm long but grow quickly and can swim at three months. Visitors are also more likely to smell our otters before even seeing them, they love to scent mark, which helps us to do lots of enrichment by introducing different scents or even moving around their enclosure every day. However, it’s also known that the young ones will stay with their mother until they are mature enough to start their own families. They aren’t picky eaters though as they will consume just about anything they can find to survive on. Otters will mainly feed on fish (40-90% of their diet)and will take a variety of species depending on the time of year, species such as carp, stickleback and eels. on 03/10/2019. Otters have to eat a massive 25% of their body weight every day to maintain weight, and because of their high metabolism, they have to spend around 60% of their time hunting and the other 40% resting. There are many natural predators of otters, such as bobcats, coyotes, wolves, bears and foxes, as well sea lions, orcas, great white sharks, alligators and crocodiles. The otter is a fish hunter, though it happily eats waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans too, including American signal crayfish. Their diet consists of roughly 80% fish, but they will prey upon birds, mammals and frogs if fish are in short supply. Otters are carnivorous animals and fish make up 80% of their diet. However, it often leaves tell tale signs behind. With the ability to smell concentrations of fish and their high metabolisms, otters spend most of their time hunting for their next meal. Giant otters and sea otters spend most of their days awake and about. An adult otter needs to eat about 20% of its body weight per day. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. When were Otters reintroduced to Norfolk? on 28/08/2018. “My favourite part of working with our otters is learning about their individual personalities, watching their eating habits and the things they each like to do when awake and around their enclosure. Otters weigh 35-90 pounds (males weigh more than females). Otters prefer fish which they dive underwater to catch using their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. at River Bure Otters have their cubs in underground burrows, known as 'holts'. It depends on the species and whether they live in the wild or not. 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