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19 December 2018 - 19th December

Submitted by: Ben

In Bangladesh, Smooth-coated otters and people co-exist peacefully. The otters and local fishermen work together to catch fish and they both sit down to a fish supper at the end of the day.
Smooth (fishing)

18 December 2018 - Eurasian otters

Submitted by: Ben

Eurasian Otters have the largest range of any otter in the world and live across 3 continents. You will find Eurasian otters in the UK, North Africa and east Asia, and everywhere in between.


©Jim Manthorpe

You can find out more about these otters and the 12 other species in the IOSF book, World of Otters, which is available at the Ottershop.

A great idea for a Christmas present.

book again

17 December 2018 - New otter cub arrives

Submitted by: Grace

We are breaking with our theme of otter facts for Advent as we have something very special to tell you.

Yesterday Paul and I were out for a walk with our dog when we heard really loud peeping - an otter cub. We have heard that many times before but this was in a really unusual location. It was a long way from the sea - again natal holts can be a long way from water, but we know the area and have never come across an otter there.

Hidden among the rhododendron bushes was a tiny otter cub, clearly lost. There was no sign of the mother and we looked about to see if there was a holt we hadn't found before. As it wasn't long until it would start getting dark we decided it best to pick it up.


That made it scream even more but we emptied our rucksack and put it in and it immediately settled down quietly.

Otter in Rucksack

We headed back quickly to Broadford, stopping off to get some salmon at the Co-op in Kyle.

Duncraig Castle

The cub, a female, clearly hadn't eaten for quite a while and to my delight she was very keen to take pureed salmon from a teaspoon. Often it can take them a while to start feeding as obviously everything is so alien to them.

We gave her a cuddly otter for "company" and left her quietly. Her enthusiasm for food increased over the evening and she became very wriggly as I tried to hold her to feed.

In cub unit with cuddly

Early this morning when I went out for a feed I found that she had licked her bowl clean! Hopefully she will continue to make good progress like this.

We have no idea how the cub came to be there but later this morning we are going back just to make sure there isn't a sibling which has come out too.

16 December 2018 - North American River Otter trapping

Submitted by: Ben

Every year, around 50,000 North American River Otters are killed in legalised trapping in North America. The otters are killed using traps for their fur. I think we can all agree that otter’s fur looks far better on them than of us!

15 December 2018 - Sea Otters

Submitted by: Ben

Sea otters are the heaviest otter in the world, weighing up to 45kg!

Sea Otter 2

14 December 2018 - 14th December

Submitted by: Ben

Asian short-clawed otters are the smallest otter in the world and they are known to live in large groups. This, unfortunately, makes them popular otters to be kept as pets as they are very sociable. Across much of Asia otters are being kept as pets and starved of the wild that they were born into.
IOSF is working to reduce this.

ASC Caged

©SCORPION Foundation

13 December 2018 - 13th December

Submitted by: Ben

Despite their name, not all Spotted-necked otters (Hydrictis maculicollis) have spots on their neck. For example, the species in South Africa generally have less neck markings than those further north in the continent.


©Derek Keats

12 December 2018 - 12th December

Submitted by: Ben

The Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is the largest species of otter to live in Asia. They are known to live in large social groups.

In Singapore, smooth-coated otters live in the heart of the city and Singapore is, arguably, the easiest place to see otters anywhere in the world. It is important to remember that although these otters are less shy than other otters they remain wild animals and therefore can be largely unpredictable. If you have the pleasure of seeing these otters ensure you maintain a safe distance for both yourself and the otters.


©Anjani Kumar

11 December 2018 - 11th December

Submitted by: Ben

The Congo Clawless Otter (Aonyx congicus) lives in the Congo Basin in Africa. The most famous Congo clawless otter was Mazu from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mazu was spared as her mother was killed by hunters and taken to Glen and Rita Chapman to care for her.

From there, Mazu shot into stardom and people travelled from far and wide to meet her, including top government officials. Mazu became much more than a single otter and was a catalyst for change within the area. She helped raise awareness for otters within the area and people no longer viewed them as a nuisance. Following Mazu’s release, the Kikongo Otter Sanctuary was established which has seen other otter orphans come into care before being released.

Mazu with the children

©Glen and Rita Chapman

11 December 2018 - Your latest e-update is now online

Submitted by: Ben

The latest e-update is now online!

CLICK HERE to read all about the otters in our care, how we celebrated our 25 year anniversary and all things ottery!

25 year logo

10 December 2018 - 10th December

Submitted by: Ben

The African Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis) is the largest species of otter in Africa. As their name suggests they have no claws and use the paws to ‘catch’ their prey. Their usual favourite prey are crabs and crustaceans but they do also eat fish.

African Clawless

©Tony Goy Photography

09 December 2018 - 9th December

Submitted by: Ben

The Southern River Otter (Lontra provocax) has the smallest range of any species of otter. It lives in the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina. Coastal otters eat more fish and freshwater individuals eat more crustaceans, however, diet is known to vary depending on the season.

Southern river

©Jose Luis Bartheld

08 December 2018 - 8th December

Submitted by: Ben

The Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) is one of the rarest otters in the world. In 1998 it was thought to be extinct before a cub was found in Thailand a year later. Since then populations have been found across South-east Asia although they are still endangered. As the name suggests this species is the only otter with a hairy nose which makes it distinguishable from other species in the area.


©Conservation International

07 December 2018 - 7th December

Submitted by: Ben

Despite their name the North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) actually lives in both salt and fresh water, depending on its location. This species is widespread across Canada and the US.

©John Pennell

06 December 2018 - 6th December

Submitted by: Ben

Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) have been found at altitudes of 4000m+ and are known to live around the foothills of the Himalayas


©Sarah Corrigall

05 December 2018 - 5th December

Submitted by: Ben

Neotropical otters (Lontra longicaudis) are also called Long-tailed otters. This is due to their almost snake-like tail.


04 December 2018 - 4th December

Submitted by: Ben

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) have 150,000 hairs per square centimetre. That means in the area as small as your finger nail they have that many hairs. This is due to the fact that sea otters spend most of their time in the water and often this can be in Arctic conditions. These hairs trap air and allow them to stay warm at all times due to their low levels of fat.

Sea otter - Tabea

©Tabea Lanz

03 December 2018 - 3rd December

Submitted by: Ben

The Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the largest of all species of otter. Although they feed primarily on fish they have been known to eat anaconda, caiman and piranhas.

Giant otter

02 December 2018 - 2nd December

Submitted by: Ben

The Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) is the smallest of the otters. Their front feet are only partially webbed and they are masters at using these front paws to catch prey. Other than primates, they are the only mammals to use these with almost human dexterity.


©Diana Limjoco

01 December 2018 - IOSF Otter Oscar Awards 2018 - Winners Announced

Submitted by: Helen

2018 sees our third annual IOSF Otter Oscar Awards recognising those working in otter conservation, their environment and the communities around them, and we are thrilled to announce the winners for this year.


Photo depicting the otter in its natural environment alongside other wildlife

The categories and winners are:

• Children's Award - Ruby Bedelph, Australia.

• Young People's Award - Ullapool Sea Savers (USS), Scotland.

• Group/Organisation Award - OBC Chinchimen, Chile.

• Community Achievement – Chaminda Jayasekara, Sri Lanka.

• Research – Dr. Britta Habbe, Germany.

• Photography/Artwork – Dr. Hans Ring, Sweden (see photo above)

• Special Award – Don Jefferies, UK.

New award2018

We will be including 'Highly Commended' photography/artwork entrants here at a later date, and also photographs of the winners receiving their awards.

Thank you to all who made submissions and supported the Otter Oscars. We acknowledge all the work that is being carried out by so many of you to benefit otters and the environment.

01 December 2018 - Advent Blog - 1st December

Submitted by: Ben

For this year's IOSF otter advent blog we will be sharing weird and wonderful facts about all 13 species of otter, starting with the Marine otter, native to South America.

The Marine Otter (Lontra felina) or Sea Cat lives in the harsh coastal marine environment off South America. Its guard hairs are particularly long and harsh and act as protection from buffeting against the rocky coast in stormy weather.




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