Otters are one of our most beautiful native mammals. They are predominantly nocturnal creatures, feeding mainly on fish and usually live around seven years. They were quite common in Britain up until the 1950s, after which point their numbers started to decline quite rapidly due to the use of agricultural pesticides and habitat loss. Currently, otter numbers are recovering and they are thought to be present in 85% of Welsh rivers.
Otters have a wide territory range. The female otter will choose a secluded 'natal holt' (breeding den) to give birth to her cubs (usually 1-3) this is often away from the main river and must be completely undisturbed. Otters also have many resting-places in their territory, hidden places along the river and also on the ground amongst scrub and bramble. In our woodland, we have seen a male Otter emerging from a brash pile, which we think he was using as a resting place.
In our wood we have thinned some of the trees for various reasons: to allow natural regeneration of broadleaf trees, to bring light to the woodland floor, and to encourage more diversity (such as butterflies, wild flowers and insects). Once a tree has been felled and the main trunk has been used, the unwanted brash (usually the thin side branches) which is left over can be made into piles. We have made several brash piles and these attract various different creatures: some birds will nest amongst them, such as Wrens and also mammals make use of them, including small rodents and sometimes even Otters!
Comments are closed for this post.