Location: Zoo Krefeld, Germany
Luta Luta lutra (Eurasian Otter, Common Otter, European Otter, European River Otter, Old World Otter; Fischotter/ Europäischer/ Eurasischer Otter) [link]
The European Otter is the most widely distributed otter species, its range including parts of Asia and Africa as well as being spread across Europe. It is believed to be currently extinct in Liechtenstein
, and Switzerland
. It is proven to be extinct in the Netherlands
. They are now very common in Latvia, along the coast of Norway and in Northern Britain, especially Shetland where 12% of the UK breeding population exist. In Italy, they can be found in the Calore river area.
They may inhabit any unpolluted body of freshwater, including lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, as long as there is good supply of food. European Otters may also live along the coast, in salt water, but require regular access to freshwater to clean their fur.
Otters are strongly territorial, living alone for the most part. An individual's territory is about 18 km (about 11 miles). The territories are only held against members of the same sex, and so those of males and females may overlap.
Males and females will breed at any time of the year, and mating takes place in water. Pups remain dependent on the mother for a year. The male plays no direct role in parental care, although the territory of a female with her cubs is usually entirely within that of the male. Hunting mainly takes place at night.
Status: Near Threatened :/
The European Otter declined across its range in the second half of the 20th century primarily due to pollution from pesticides. The populations are now recovering in many parts of Europe for example in Britain the number of sites with an otter presence increased by 55% between 1994 and 2002. Recovery is partly due to a ban on the most harmful pesticides that has been in place across Europe since 1979.
Age in the wild: 8-13
Age in captivity: up to 22
In Germany the population rises again since 1990, after it was nearly extinct.