Otters used to be common, but they disappeared
from many parts of lowland Britain after 1950 and by 1980 were almost
extinct in Norfolk.
This was due to the change in farming methods -
which saw the introduction of pesticides and many rivers had become
But they became protected in 1978 and with the
help of the Otter Trust's re-introduction programme, otters have
returned to the Norfolk waters.
Fliss and Chipz
Asian short-clawed otter cubs were born in 2002 to proud parents
Fliss and Chipz at the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary in North Norfolk.
really impressed staff was just how good a father former troublemaker
he was introduced to Fliss, Chipz had calmed down but staff were
still worried how he would cope with the pitter patter of tiny paws.
fortunately he turned out to be a devoted father. When the cubs
were born Chipz watched from a distance, but after a few moments
he ran over to them, picked them up and took them back inside!
sanctuary hopes that the birth of the Asian short-clawed otters
will help highlight the need for conservation for both British otters
and the world's other endangered species.
Interesting facts about otters
UK has a single species of otter, the European or Eurasian otter
Lutra lutra. It is related to the stoat, weasel, badger and American
are one of our largest mammals measuring up to 120cm from nose to
have webbed feet with five toes (unlike dogs, cats and foxes which
need one kilogram of food every day, consisting of about 80% fish
- they eat different foods at different seasons including small
mammals, birds and crustaceans.
water, otters hunt by sight and touch. Their sensitive whiskers
pick up the vibrations of fish swimming nearby.
are mainly solitary and nocturnal - they spend most of the daytime
‘lying-up’ in an underground holt or in thick cover above ground.
mark their territories with droppings known as spraints - spraints
have a very a distinctive odour similar to that of jasmine tea or
By Sheila McKeown, a librarian at the Millennium Library in
Sea Otters, by Patricia Kendell. Hodder Wayland
2003. ISBN 0750242272.
Otter, by Michael Leach. Hodder Wayland,
2003. ISBN 0750241683.
You can get hold of these books through
your local library.
Read More: CBBC
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