• Average lifespan is 5 years in the wild.
  • Babies are cubs and there is usually 2-3 in the litter.
  • The otter is a member of the Mustelid family which includes stoats, minks and pine martens in Ireland.
  • Always found by water, otters live by small streams to major rivers, upland lakes to coastal lagoons and sandy beaches.
  • Within its territory (which can be between 2 – 20km) they have a number of resting sites, called couches and underground denning sites called holts, which can be up to 1km from the water source.
  • The holts are natural crevices with multiple entrances. Otters rarely dig their own holts they will use burrows made by other animals such as rabbits and foxes.
  • The entire population is estimated to be in the region of 10,000 adults.
  • Otters that live in rivers and lakes tend to be completely nocturnal, foraging at night or in ‘muddy’ water aided by their highly sensitive whiskers.
  • Otters are principally piscivorous eating salmon and trout but also eel and small fish species such as stickleback. However they will also eat frogs, crayfish, birds and small mammals. Otters that forage at the coast may have flexible foraging times linked to the tides. At low tide otters hunt in the exposed rock pools and seaweed covered rocks for fish and invertebrate prey.
  • Otters are agile swimmers with the ability to dive underwater for up to forty seconds. They slink through the water only the head and part of the tail is visible. Sea otters hold hands when they are sleeping to stop them drifting apart.
  • Otters are not particularly vocal but will emit a whistle sound to communicate with more chuckles and chatters being heard during the mating season