Meet the Otters
Meet our otters – our very own swimming superstars! Watch the otters playing, foraging, feeding, swimming and grooming. You’ll even be able to watch them sleeping in their specially designed holt, although this species of otter is more active during the day than some of the 13 other species found worldwide. Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest otters in the world and live well together in family groups, unlike most other otters which tend to be solitary. They often play games which helps their young to develop hunting skills.
Otters are a good indication of clean water and healthy wetland habitats. As they are usually at the top of the food chain, if there are problems with wetlands the otter population declines. The UK’s native European otter is a conservation success story. Fifty years ago the rivers of the UK suffered from pollution by organo-chlorine pesticides and as a result otters had disappeared from almost all of the country.
However, in the 1970s the government banned harmful chemicals and slowly the health of the rivers improved and the UK otter population flourished. By 2011 there were otters in every county.
Asian short-clawed otters live in marshy areas, such as swamps, pools and rice fields, across Asia. Unfortunately, these appealing wetland creatures are listed as ‘vulnerable’ because of pollution, habitat loss and hunting. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) breeds otters in order to understand more about them to be able to help them in the wild, and to inspire visitors to help protect wetlands and the wildlife that depends on them.