20th Nov, 2018

Otters spotted in River Leam

Ian Hughes 7th Sep, 2018

OTTERS are a rare site in Warwickshire but a pair were spotted frolicking in the River Leam.

Matt Bishop, who runs Leam Boat Centre in Leamington’s Mill Gardens, filmed these two – believed to be a male and female – near Mill Bridge around 4pm on Thursday.

Matt said: “I grabbed a canoe and followed them for about 40 minutes as they frolicked about.

“Their call is very distinctive and the easiest way to follow them. You can just hear them squeaking to each other in the video.”

The otter was nearly wiped out during the 20th century through a combination of pesticide poisoning, persecution and habitat destruction but is now making a return.

A spokesperson for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “Luckily, they are now on the increase again thanks to the cleaning up of our rivers and waterways, the banning of harmful pesticides and hunting, and numerous conservation projects across the country to provide suitable habitat for them.

“The wildlife trusts have led the way on such projects, but many local trusts still need help with habitat improvements, holt-building and surveying to encourage these wonderful creatures back to our rivers.”

Otters feed mainly on fish, waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans.

They have their cubs in underground burrows, known as a ‘holt’. Excellent swimmers, the young are in the water by ten weeks of age.

Otters can be distinguished from mink by their much larger size, more powerful body, paler grey-brown fur, broader snout and broader, pale chest and throat.

Visit www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk for further details on helping otters in Warwickshire.

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