The European otter has the widest distribution of all otter species. Its range covers parts of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Palearctic and Oriental regions: Eurasia south of tundra line, North Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Sumatra, Java: found from Scotland to Kamchatka and south to Java. Europe: Good populations remaining: Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Scotland, northern taiga of Russia

Britain: Remain through Ireland and most of Scotland. Reasonable populations south-west England and counties bordering mid-Wales, with low populations in north, south and eastern England, while absent from south Wales, Anglesey and central England

Not found: Mediterranean islands (except Corfu, Lesbos, Chios, Euboea). Probably extinct in Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Switzerland.
European Otter- JPEG


European otters spend most of their lives in freshwater. They inhabits rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and along rocky coasts. It uses a variety of shelters, such as, crevices in rocks and under the roots of trees but it mainly uses dens called "holts" where the females give birth and bring up their young. The holt has a chamber above the level of the water and an exit under the water. There is also a air shaft connecting the chamber to the surface which opens out into the thick thorny bushes or brambles.

Species of Otter

Sea Otter | River Otter | Marine Otter | European Otter | Giant Otter