Mammal Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Lutra lutra
Eurasian River Otter

See also Northern River Otter for description.

Eurasian river otters can be found in Europe and Asia. They inhabit water habitats of all kinds: small streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. They even live at the sea shore. Otters are solitary animals doing nocturnal migrations, which may lead lots of kilometres through areas of solid ground. Their physiques are well adapted to life and hunt in water. They are quite slender, up to 70 - 90 cm long and reach weights up to 7 - 12 kg. Females are a little smaller than males. River otters hunt fish but also all other kinds of small animals living in or near the water. The amount of fish they eat varies through the seasons. It comes to 20 - 90% of their nutrition. Since there is no certain mating season in River otters, young are born throughout the year. Pregnancy lasts for 9 weeks. A litter consists of 1 - 3 pups, which stay with their mother for about one year. Eurasian river otters reach ages of 10 - 15 years.

Eurasian River Otter It's just hundred years ago that river otters could have been found at all kinds of water habitats throughout Europe and Russia. In former times river otters had been hunted intensively for their fur. Men also killed otters as competitors for fish. This all diminished their numbers to dangerously low levels but didn't bring them near the point of extinction. Today, water habitats are "renatured" again, providing river otters habitats where they can thrive in larger numbers.

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