01285 610145 (Cirencester) | 029 2002 2320 (Caerphilly)
Wales and the South West

Otter Surveys

Otter Surveys

 

Wildwood Ecology has experienced ecologists able to undertake surveys of all watercourses for otters. Non-invasive survey techniques are mainly used, searching for otter spraints (droppings), dens, footprints, and other signs of otter activity.

Wildwood Ecology can undertake a survey of your land (or proposed land purchase) for otters, as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. Detailed subsequent surveys to inform appropriate levels of mitigation or compensation for a development licence application can also be performed.

For further information on our otter or other protected species surveys, call us on 029 2002 2320.

Otter legislation and protection

Otters are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), and are a European Protected Species. It is illegal to:

  • Deliberately capture, injure, kill, or disturb otters,
  • Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to any structure/place used for shelter or protection, or
  • Damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place.

If convicted of an offence the penalties can be severe, including a fine of up to £5000 (per animal) and/or six months in prison.

Key facts – Otters

Otters, Lutra lutra, are found across the UK in both rural and urban areas, and will use any size of watercourse providing there is plenty of vegetative cover, including rivers, streams, lakes, canals, reservoirs, culverts, ponds, coastal estuaries, fens, and reed beds. Otters are active throughout the year and can breed at any time. Their numbers have declined over the past 50 years, largely due to the pollution of watercourses by pesticides, habitat loss, and hunting.

Otters are nocturnal, mostly active at night, and are nervous around humans so they are a rare sight. They rest and breed in ‘holts’ – dens built in holes in river banks, in hollow trees, within rock/log piles, under tree roots, and within caves and man-made structures. They feed mainly on fish, but will also eat small mammals, amphibians, crustaceans, and birds.