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Eurasian Otter : Diet

Lutra Lutra

What?

Studies of otter spraints have given us valuable information of otter diet. Freshwater otters generally take whatever fish are most readily available - sticklebacks, trout, roach, perch or eels. When there is a choice, otters will tend to concentrate on the ones easiest to catch, particularly eels. Any sizes will do though very tiny fish are probably ignored.

Pike are taken infrequently, probably because of their habit of lying in wait for their prey amongst the water weeds rather than swimming around after it.

Coastal otters commonly eat eelpout, rocklings, sea scorpion and butterfish, all slow-moving, bottom-dwelling fish.

Seasons a Plenty

An otter's diet will vary through the year as it concentrates on the best things to catch. Frogs can become an important part of the diet during the breeding and hibernating seasons. When the eels burrow into the mud in winter, the more active river fish like roach and trout become easier to catch as the cold water slows them down..

Tastes like chicken

Otters will eat anything that they can get hold of - there are records of sparrows and snakes and slugs being gobbled. Apart from fish the most common prey are crayfish, crabs and waterbirds (grabbed from beneath like Jaws!). Small mammals are occasionally taken, most commonly rabbits but sometimes even moles.