Otters - Western Isles Wildlife - Photos
Western Isles Otters - These beautiful creatures really do look magnificent against the backdrop of the beautiful hebridean scenery. Inquisitive, playful semi aquatic mammals - can be seen playing around the shorelines of The Isle of Harris - Isle of Lewis & Uists
Click the pictures below for larger images
Otters in The Western Isles and Scotland - Facts
Otters - Lutra Lutra
The otter in Northwest Scotland is also know by its Gaelic name Dobhran and Beaste Dubh (black beast).
The Otter Family
Otters belong to the same family as badgers, weasels, stoats, pine marten and mink. Otters are predators, feeding mainly on fish, waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans.
Freshwater Inhabitants - Otters are Largely Nocturnal
The otters that inhabit freshwaters, otters feed mainly on fish such as trout, salmon and eels and are largely nocturnal.
Coastal Otters - Active During the Day
In contrast, the coastal otters are mainly active during the day and they have much smaller home ranges, as little as 4-5km of coastline.
Coastal-dwelling otters require a ready supply of fresh water to wash the salt out of their fur, which would otherwise rapidly lose its insulate properties.
Otters have their cubs in underground burrows or 'holts'. Young otters are swimming around at just ten weeks old. Otters may have their cubs at any time of the year in the Outer Hebrides.
The Otters lifespan is up to ten years
Webbed Feet - Fur
Otters have webbed feet making them well adept for a life on the water. They also have dense fur to keep them warm.
Otters can close their ears and nose when underwater. Otters often spend long periods of time resting underground in their holts or above ground at lie-ups.
50% of Scotland's Otters are Coastal Inhabitants - Hence The Name "Sea Otters"
50% of Scotland's otters are of a coastal variety - otters that feed almost exclusively in the sea, which is why they are often referred to as "sea otters", yet really they are the same animals that inhabit freshwaters further inland.
Scent Markings - Spraints
Otters leave scent markings - spraints - in important areas to them. If a location is very important and used throughout the year the spraints can build into mounds which will be brighter green than the surrounding land due to the rich fertilising effect of the droppings. An otters spraint will smell musky and have a distinct fishy scent, a most distinctive smell.