Otter spotting

Monday 3 June 2013, 15:23

Springwatch Guest Blog Springwatch Guest Blog

Guest blogger: Darren Tansley, Essex Wildlife Trust

Otters are back after their near extinction in the 1970s, so why don't we see them more often? 

Otter Otter by Roger Hance

Unfortunately across much of their range they are more active at night, and even a 1.2m long dog otter can swim past undetected on a dark river.

Nightwatch surveys, with infra-red cameras, are ideal to view these amazing animals in the wild, but expensive kit is not the only way to track their movements. Try contacting your local Wildlife Trust or mammal group for details of local otter surveys and training days. You’ll be expected to get your nose into some otter spraints (droppings), but don’t be alarmed as they smell quite pleasant; sometimes being compared to the scent of jasmine tea.

Otter on Kirby Brook Otter on Kirby Brook by Bob Seago

Otters also move along rivers in town centres, as their territories stretch several miles, but recent unseasonal flooding has driven them into some unusual locations, such as ditches, housing estates and garden ponds. With cubs being born in any season and depending on their mother for food, in winter she risks being knocked down while crossing busy roads to avoid flooded bridges.

But generally the future is bright and there has never been a better time to become an otter spotter.

The Wildlife Trusts - great places to see otters, guide (pdf)

 

Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Programme great as ever but why whenever you film from somehwere not in England it's always "here we are at the ****** reserve in Wales or Loch ******* in Scotland? If it's somewhere in England it's "here we are about (e.g.) 5 miles outside Telford, Shropshire. Not unique to Springwatch on BBC but really irritating.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    The tick infestation on mammals was pointed out but no mention of Lyme disease, People need to be made aware of the increasing danger of this tick-borne disease all over the UK. Increasing contact with wildlife is increasing the risk of human infection. Avoiding the disease doesn't mean avoiding the countryside - ticks don't even begin to feed for about 24h and if you're infected you can be treated effectively within 2 to 3 weeks of being bitten. Please let people know about this!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    what I would like to know is can anyone tell me the make and model of the camera and lens used in the demonstration of zooming in this afternoons show . It was demonstrated by zooming in to a toy bird . Any info would be greatly appreciated and a cheque for an enormous amount of money forwarded to you directly :)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    Still trying to spot otters in Norfolk. However, was looking forward to seeing badgers featured on Springwatch, but haven't seen any this year - or perhaps I missed an episode. is there any reason for this? Has there been a ban for political reasons, due to the badger culls?

 

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