Physical Description: Although conforming to the basic mustelid body shape
of a long, slim body and a skull with powerful jaws, otters show numerous adaptations
to aquatic life. These include webbed toes and a powerful, rudder-like tail, used
for propulsion under water. Otters are capable of closing their ears and nostrils
while underwater. They have two types of fur: stout, waterproof guard hairs and
a dense, fine underfur which provides insulation. Their fur is chestnut-brown
and is slightly lighter on the belly.
Scottish Distribution: Widespread.
Habitat: In the British Isles, otters are found in fresh and salt water,
although coastal otters like those in Scotland and the Shetlands need access to
freshwater pools to clean their insulating fur.
Diet: Apart from fish, otters also feed on crustaceans, water birds, frogs
and voles. They can use their whiskers as sensing organs underwater, to monitor
the movements of prey.