Otter

Otters are highly adapted aquatic hunters, who are related to badger and pine marten, and are one of the most eagerly sought, yet elusive mammals in Scotland.

They are usually a shade of light brown, which can look darker when wet. They have a streamlined and cylindrical muscular tail and webbed feet. When they swim on the surface of the water, their square muzzle makes a distinctive vee-shaped wake. The ears appear very small and they have large visible whiskers. When diving and swimming underwater they gradually let their breath out, leaving a distinctive chain of bubbles.


How to be responsible when watching wildlife >

Discover more about Otters

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Active and breeding throughout the year, a female otter with cubs is often more visible than male, or dog, otters who are usually bigger and more solitary. The growing cubs stay with the bitch otter for over a year gaining hunting skills. Their contact call is a clear “peep” whistle. They may be seen in the evening and the early morning but are more active at night.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

It is found throughout Scotland in a range of habitats where there is freshwater. Otters seen at the seashore on the West Coast can be seen during the day. These otters are the same species and should not be confused with sea otters found in the Pacific Ocean. All European otters must wash daily in freshwater to keep their coats in good condition. Shetland and the Isles of Skye and Mull are good spots for otter-watching.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

Otters use their long whiskers to feel the vibrations that a fish or eel makes as it swims through the water. As a result they can hunt and catch this underwater prey in pitch darkness. In contrast their eyesight is very poor both underwater and on land in daylight.

Dolphin Icon Blue
Related species

Badger Pine Marten

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Active and breeding throughout the year, a female otter with cubs is often more visible than male, or dog, otters who are usually bigger and more solitary. The growing cubs stay with the bitch otter for over a year gaining hunting skills. Their contact call is a clear “peep” whistle. They may be seen in the evening and the early morning but are more active at night.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

It is found throughout Scotland in a range of habitats where there is freshwater. Otters seen at the seashore on the West Coast can be seen during the day. These otters are the same species and should not be confused with sea otters found in the Pacific Ocean. All European otters must wash daily in freshwater to keep their coats in good condition. Shetland and the Isles of Skye and Mull are good spots for otter-watching.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

Otters use their long whiskers to feel the vibrations that a fish or eel makes as it swims through the water. As a result they can hunt and catch this underwater prey in pitch darkness. In contrast their eyesight is very poor both underwater and on land in daylight.

Dolphin Icon Blue
Related species

Badger Pine Marten

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Active and breeding throughout the year, a female otter with cubs is often more visible than male, or dog, otters who are usually bigger and more solitary. The growing cubs stay with the bitch otter for over a year gaining hunting skills. Their contact call is a clear “peep” whistle. They may be seen in the evening and the early morning but are more active at night.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

It is found throughout Scotland in a range of habitats where there is freshwater. Otters seen at the seashore on the West Coast can be seen during the day. These otters are the same species and should not be confused with sea otters found in the Pacific Ocean. All European otters must wash daily in freshwater to keep their coats in good condition. Shetland and the Isles of Skye and Mull are good spots for otter-watching.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

Otters use their long whiskers to feel the vibrations that a fish or eel makes as it swims through the water. As a result they can hunt and catch this underwater prey in pitch darkness. In contrast their eyesight is very poor both underwater and on land in daylight.

Dolphin Icon Blue
Related species

Badger Pine Marten

Book your opportunity to see this wildlife

Atholl Estates

Stretching over 145,000 acres, Atholl Estates has a beautiful and diverse landscape of rugged hills, open countryside, woodland and moorland. Situa...
Read more >

Source to Sea Canoe Adventures

Here at Source To Sea we provide some of the best guided canoe trips in Scotland to suit everyone. We are based on the beautiful Loch Sunart which...
Read more >

Treshnish & Haunn Cottages

Award winning sustainable self catering cottages located on a remote farm in north west Mull.
Read more >

Hebrides Cruises

Witness the rare wildlife and stunning scenery of the west coast of Scotland, the Hebrides and St Kilda aboard our specialist wildlife cruises, wit...
Read more >

Ardtornish Estate

Situated on the stunning West Coast of Scotland, Ardtornish Estate is located on the shores of Lochaline on the Morvern peninsula. Choose from one...
Read more >

Otter Adventures

Otter Adventures is a small, friendly business offering bespoke adventures in a stunning part of the West Coast of Scotland off the main tourist tr...
Read more >

The Isle of Carna

We offer unique ‘Escape’ holidays where you can rent an entire private island to enjoy with family, friends or yourself and help conserve native wi...
Read more >

St Hilda Sea Adventures

St Hilda Sea Adventures provides small ship cruising and wildlife holidays on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland. Our cruises, among the breathta...
Read more >

Wilderness Scotland

Wilderness Scotland is an award-winning adventure travel and ecotourism company. We specialise in offering an inspiring range of guided, self-guide...
Read more >

Speyside Wildlife

Speyside Wildlife was established in 1991 and offers wildlife-watching day trips, tours and holidays in the UK and Overseas. We cater for a wide va...
Read more >
1 2 3 4