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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

European Otter Lutra lutra

Once widespread throughout Europe and Asia, the European otter has been badly affected by pollution and habitat change and by being hunted for its fur. It has a streamlined body, short but dense coat, and webbing on all four paws, and is extraordinarily agile underwater, twisting and turning to catch fish. Inland, European otters are largely nocturnal, spending the daytime in their dens, or holts. Those that live on the coast, however, can often be seen during the day.

European Otterzoom image
  • Order Carnivora
  • Length 3–3 ft (90–110 cm) including tail
  • Weight 15–22 lb (7–10 kg)
  • Habitat Rivers, lakes, estuaries, rocky coasts
  • Distribution Temperate and tropical Eurasia, south to Indonesia
European Otter habitat mapzoom image