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Otters are listed as European Protected Species under the Habitats Regulations.Otter habitats are protected by law whether or not an otter is present on site. It is illegal to:  

  • deliberately or recklessly kill, injure or take (capture) an otter
  • deliberately or recklessly disturb or harass an otter
  • damage, destroy or obstruct access to a breeding site or resting place of an otter (i.e an otter shelter)

Signs of otter activity include:

  • dung (spraints)
  • tracks (footprints)
  • feeding remains
  • otter slides (into water)
  • holts (underground dens)
  • couches (above ground sites where otters rest during the day)

The otter is also a UK BAP Priority Species and has been adopted as a Species of Principal Importance in England under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 (Section 42 in Wales) and the Conservation (Scotland) Act in Scotland.



Client: Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust

Site: Centenary Riverside

Our ecologists surveyed both banks of an island within the nature reserve to assess good habitat for otters and to help decide the best location for a new man-made otter habitat. The river was searched for signs of otter activity, including spraint, footprints and slides/hauling out locations. Particular emphasis was placed on suitable locations for territorial marking, such as roots and trunks of riverside trees, prominent rocks, under bridges, and revetment walls.By undertaking this work we were able to help our client choose the best location for a new otter habitat as well as make recommendations for the future management of the banks.