Why are coastal ot­ters more vis­i­ble than river ot­ters?

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Q&a -

Healthy river sys­tems in the UK may boast equally vi­brant pop­u­la­tions of ot­ters as typ­i­cal coastal habi­tat, but ri­par­ian ot­ters are usu­ally harder to spot due to high lev­els of hu­man and dog dis­tur­bance, dense veg­e­ta­tion and the fact that it is more chal­leng­ing to see th­ese mustelids hunt­ing in fast mov­ing rivers than on the sea. Coastal ot­ters fre­quent in­ter­tidal zones in search of blennies, eels, rock­ling, crabs and other crus­taceans, and are easy to spot when on the shore.

Ot­ter watch­ing in­volves per­se­ver­ance. On a river it is vi­tal to check for signs dur­ing win­ter when the veg­e­ta­tion has died back. Th­ese in­clude spraint sites on ex­posed roots and stones, worn slides on muddy banks and tracks show­ing five webbed toes.

On the River Tay, where beavers have re­cently be­come abun­dant, ot­ters make use of beaver-felled stumps as spraint sites; both species are seen in close prox­im­ity, usu­ally with no con­flict.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.