Filming the elusive otter

Wildlife cameraman Philip Lovel accepts a challenge from Landward producers and goes in the search of otters in the west coast of Scotland. Otters are shy, secretive and largely nocturnal so will Philip be able to be able to capture this elusive animal on camera?

Broadcast on Landward in October 2009.

Page first published on Thursday 29th October 2009
Page last updated on Thursday 19th November 2009


Latin Name: Lutra lutra
Gaelic Name: Biast Dhubh.
Statistics: Length 55-110cm, weight 5-12kg.
Physical Description: With a long, slim body and powerful jaws, otters are perfectly adapted to aquatic life. Otters have webbed toes and a powerful, rudder-like tail, used for propulsion under water and 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.
Young: Otter cubs can be born all year round though in Scotland most are born in June. A typical litter has two to three cubs. The cubs are born hairless and blind and stay with their mother for a year.


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