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Eurasian Otter : Lifestyle

Lutra Lutra

When?

Eurasian otters will breed any time where food is readily available. In places where condition is more severe, Sweden for example where the lakes are frozen for much of winter, cubs are born in Spring. This ensures that they are well grown before severe weather returns. In the Shetlands, cubs are born in summer when fish is more abundant.

How often?

Though otters can breed every year, some do not. Again, this depends on food availability. Other factors such as food range and quality of the female may have an effect.

Gestation and Birth

Gestation for Eurasian otter is 63 days. Otters normally give birth in more secure dens to avoid disturbances. Nests are lined with bedding (reeds, waterside plants, grass) to keep the cubs warm while mummy is away feeding.

Litter Size

Varies between 1 and 5 (2 or 3 being the most common). For some unknown reason, coastal otters tend to produce smaller litters.

Growing Up (a river otter)

At five weeks they open their eyes - a tiny cub of 700g. At seven weeks they're weaned onto solid food. At ten weeks they leave the nest, blinking into daylight for the first time. After three months they finally meet the water and learn to swim. After eight months they are hunting, though the mother still provides a lot of food herself. Finally, after nine months she can chase them all away with a clear conscience, and relax - until the next fella shows up.

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