Lutra is a genus of otters, one of seven in the subfamily Lutrinae.

Fischotter Lutra lutra1
Lutra lutra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Lutrinae
Genus: Lutra
Brisson, 1762
Lutra ranges
Lutra ranges

Taxonomy and evolution

The genus includes these recent species:

Extant Species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Fischotter, Lutra Lutra L. lutra European otter coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa
Otter from Cambodia L. sumatrana hairy-nosed otter Southeast Asia

The genus most likely evolved in Asia during the late Pliocene epoch;[1] the oldest fossil belonging to the genus is of the species L. palaeindica, and dates from the late Pliocene.[2]


Lutra species are semiaquatic mammals, so they are well-adapted to both water and land. They prefer shallow, narrow areas of streams surrounded by mature trees and with rocks, especially where weirs reduce the flow of the water, as well as attract fishes. They seem to tolerate roads and residential and agricultural areas, but only moderate human interaction. They clearly avoid areas without vegetation cover and rocks.[3]


The otters' diets consist mainly of fish (hence, the aquatic environment). However, during the winter and in colder environments, fish consumption is significantly lower and the otters use other resources for their food supply. Their diets can consist of amphibians (mainly frogs and pond turtles), bird predation (mainly anserine species), small rodents, and invertebrates such as water beetles, snails, and crayfish. They have also feed on plants, specifically grasses. With this large diversity of prey and resources for their diets, otters are considered "opportunistic eaters".[4]


Some otters live in solitude, while others live in groups.


  1. ^ Koepfli, K.-P.; et al. (2008). "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation". BMC Biology. 6 (10): 10. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-6-10. PMC 2276185. PMID 18275614.
  2. ^ Larivière, S. (2002). "Lutra maculicollis". Mammalian Species. 712: Number 712: pp. 1–6. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2002)712<0001:LM>2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ Cho, Hee-Sun; Choi, Kwang-Hee; Lee, Sang-Don; Park, Young-Seuk (2009). "Characterizing habitat preference of Eurasian river otter (Lutra lutra) in streams using a self-organizing map". Limnology. 10 (3): 203. doi:10.1007/s10201-009-0275-7.
  4. ^ Lanszki, József; Molnár, M. & Molnár, T. (2006). "Factors affecting the predation of otter (Lutra lutra) on European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis)". Journal of Zoology. 270 (2): 219. Bibcode:2010JZoo..281..263G. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00132.x.
Babcary Meadows

Babcary Meadows (grid reference ST567293) is a 13.6 hectares (34 acres) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest north of Babcary in Somerset, notified in 1988.

Babcary Meadows is one of the last remaining areas of traditionally managed unimproved neutral grassland in south Somerset and contains a rich variety of herbs.

The site is positioned to the north of the River Cary at an altitude of 30 metres (98 ft) on flat and gently sloping ground. The plant community contains a very high proportion of herbaceous species. Areas immediately adjacent to the river bank are frequently waterlogged and contain numerous tussocks of Soft rush (Juncus effusus). Associated plants include Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) and Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica).Over two hundred species of flora have been recorded on the 12 hectares (30 acres) Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve, fourteen of which are classified 'notable species' in Somerset, and six of which are orchids. Badgers (Meles meles) and Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) frequent the reserve and it is probable that Otters (Lutra lutra) use the river corridor. The site was purchased by the trust following grant assistance from South Somerset Council.

Catcott, Edington and Chilton Moors

Catcott, Edington and Chilton Moors SSSI is a 1083 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Somerset, England notified in 1967. It is close to the villages of Edington and Catcott.

It is part of the Brue Valley Living Landscape conservation project. The project commenced in January 2009 and aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitat. It aims to ensure that wildlife is enhanced and capable of sustaining itself in the face of climate change while guaranteeing farmers and other landowners can continue to use their land profitably. It is one of an increasing number of landscape scale conservation projects in the UK.The site consists of low-lying land south of the River Brue, which floods on a regular basis; land north of here is included in the Tealham and Tadham Moors SSSI. The site is managed by Somerset Wildlife Trust and includes the Catcott Lows National Nature Reserve, Catcott Heath and Catcott North.A variety of fauna are found due to the varied soil types and management practices. Unimproved swards include meadows dominated by meadow thistle (Cirsium dissectum), meadow rue (Thalictrum flavum) and similar species, and southern marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa). In the wetter areas rushes and marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) are found. Catcott Heath is noted for its rare vascular plants including marsh pea (Lathyrus palustris), milk-parsley (Peucedanum palustre) and marsh fern (Thelypteris palustris). A total of 127 aquatic and bankside vascular plant species have been recorded in the field ditches, internal drainage board maintained rhynes and deep arterial watercourses.The botanically rich water channels support a diverse invertebrate fauna including water beetles Haliplus mucronatus and Hydrophilus piceus. The rare soldier fly, the flecked general (Stratiomys singularior), is found and there are good numbers of dragonflies and damselflies.The range of plants and invertebrates support many bird species including golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria), lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and dunlin (Calidris alpina). Other vertebrate species present, include the otter (Lutra lutra), grass snake (Natrix natrix) and common frog (Rana temporaria).

Curry and Hay Moors

Curry and Hay Moors (grid reference ST323273) is a 472.8 hectare (1168.1 acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Somerset, notified in 1992.

Curry and Hay Moors form part of the complex of grazing marshes known as the Somerset Levels and Moors. The low-lying site is situated adjacent to the River Tone which annually overtops, flooding the fields in winter. Soils are predominantly alluvial

clays overlying Altcar series peats. The flora and fauna of the ditches and rhynes is of national importance. Over 70 aquatic and bankside vascular plants have been recorded including frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), wood club-rush (Scirpus sylvaticus) and lesser water-plantain (Baldellia ranunculoides). Over 100 species of aquatic invertebrates inhabit the ditches including one nationally rare soldier fly, (Odontomyia ornata) and 13 nationally scarce species including the water beetles Agabus uliginosus, Hydaticus transversalis and Helophorus nanus.

In winter the flooded fields provide food for large numbers of waterfowl with several thousand lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), hundreds of snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and smaller numbers of golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) and dunlin (Calidris alpina) regularly present. Over two hundred Bewick's swans (Cygnus bewickii) have been recorded, making the site an internationally important wintering ground for this species. Raptor species such as short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), merlin (Falco columbarius) and peregrine (Falco peregrinus) regularly hunt over the site in winter. Vertebrate species present include grass snake (Natrix natrix) and common frog Rana temporaria. Otters (Lutra lutra) are regularly recorded on the site.The moor was flooded during the winter flooding of 2013–14 on the Somerset Levels.

Dornoch Firth

The Dornoch Firth (Scottish Gaelic: Caolas Dhòrnaich, pronounced [ˈkɯːl̪ˠəs̪ ˈɣɔːrˠn̪ˠɪç]) is a firth on the east coast of Highland, in northern Scotland. It forms part of the boundary between Ross and Cromarty, to the south, and Sutherland, to the north. The firth is designated as a national scenic area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. The national scenic area covers 15,782 ha in total, of which 4,240 ha is the marine area of the firth below low tide. A review of the national scenic areas by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2010 commented:

By comparison with other east coast firths the Dornoch Firth is narrow and sinuous, yet it

exhibits within its compass a surprising variety of landscapes. It is enclosed by abrupt rounded granitic hills clad in heather moor and scree, their Gaelic names of cnoc, meall and creag giving the clue to their character. Their lower slopes are frequently wooded, oakwoods being a noticeable feature of the area, but with other deciduous and coniferous species represented in plantations which vary from the policy plantings of Skibo Castle to the pines of the Struie Forest.

Together with Loch Fleet it is a designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for wildlife conservation purposes. Additionally, together with Morrich More, it has the designation of Special Area of Conservation (SAC).The total SPA hosts significant populations of the following birds:

Breeding season: osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Overwintering: bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica), greylag goose (Anser anser), wigeon (Anas penelope), curlew (Numenius arquata), dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina), oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), and teal (Anas crecca).The SAC protects a variety of habitats, including salt meadows and coastal dune heathland and grassland. The site is of importance for otters (Lutra lutra) and harbour seals (Phoca vitulina)

Eurasian otter

The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the European otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter, and Old World otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to Eurasia. The most widely distributed member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), it is found in the waterways and coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa. The Eurasian otter has a diet mainly of fish, and is strongly territorial. It is endangered in parts of its range, but recovering in others.

Hairy-nosed otter

The hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to Southeast Asia and one of the rarest and least known otter species. It is threatened by loss of natural resources and poaching.

Japanese river otter

The Japanese river otter (Lutra lutra whiteleyi) (日本川獺, Nihon-kawauso) is an extinct variety of otter formerly widespread in Japan. Dating back to the 1880s, it was even seen in Tokyo. The population suddenly shrank in the 1930s, and the mammal nearly vanished. Since then, it has only been spotted several times, in 1964 in the Seto Inland Sea, and in the Uwa Sea in 1972 and 1973. The last official sighting was in the southern part of Kōchi Prefecture in 1979, when it was photographed in the mouth of the Shinjo River in Susaki. It was subsequently classified as a "Critically Endangered" species on the Japanese Red List. On August 28, 2012, the Japanese river otter was officially declared extinct by the Ministry of the Environment. It is the official animal symbol of Ehime Prefecture. In February 2017, a wild otter was caught on camera on Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture. However, it is not known whether the observed otter was a Japanese river otter.

Loch Creran

Loch Creran is a sea loch in Argyll, on the west coast of Scotland. It is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) long from its head at Invercreran to its mouth on the Lynn of Lorne, part of Loch Linnhe. The loch separates the areas of Benderloch to the south and Appin to the north. The island of Eriska lies at the mouth of the loch. The loch is bridged at its narrowest point at Creagan, by the A828 road. The village of Barcaldine lies on the south shore of the loch.

At the head of Loch Creran lies the Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve, an internationally important atlantic oakwood managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, classified as both a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This predominantly ash and oak woodland is home to butterflies like the rare chequered skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon), as well as being frequented by otters (Lutra lutra).


Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.

North American river otter

The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. An adult North American river otter can weigh between 5.0 and 14 kg (11.0 and 30.9 lb). The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.

The North American river otter, a member of the subfamily Lutrinae in the weasel family (Mustelidae), is equally versatile in the water and on land. It establishes a burrow close to the water's edge in river, lake, swamp, coastal shoreline, tidal flat, or estuary ecosystems. The den typically has many tunnel openings, one of which generally allows the otter to enter and exit the body of water. Female North American river otters give birth in these underground burrows, producing litters of one to six young.North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the most readily accessible species. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians (such as salamanders and frogs), freshwater clams, mussels, snails, small turtles and crayfish. The most common fish consumed are perch, suckers, and catfish. Instances of North American river otters eating small mammals, such as mice and squirrels, and occasionally birds have been reported as well. There have also been some reports of river otters attacking and even drowning dogs.The range of the North American river otter has been significantly reduced by habitat loss, beginning with the European colonization of North America. In some regions, though, their population is controlled to allow the trapping and harvesting of otters for their pelts. North American river otters are very susceptible to the effects of environmental pollution, which is a likely factor in the continued decline of their numbers. A number of reintroduction projects have been initiated to help stabilize the reduction in the overall population.


Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.

Otter fishing

Otter fishing is a fishing technique which uses trained otters to fish in rivers. This method has been practised since the 6th century in various parts of the world, and is still practiced in southern Bangladesh.


Redwall is a series of children's fantasy novels by Brian Jacques. It is also the title of the first book of the series, published in 1986, as well as the name of the Abbey featured in the book and the name of an animated TV series based on three of the novels (Redwall, Mattimeo, and Martin the Warrior), which first aired in 1999. The books are primarily aimed at older children. There have been twenty-two novels and two picture books published. The twenty-second, and final, novel, The Rogue Crew, was posthumously released on May 3, 2011.

Seomjin River

The Seomjin River is a river in South Korea. It drains southeastern Jeollabuk-do as well as eastern Jeollanam-do and western Gyeongsangnam-do provinces, and flows into the Korea Strait. The Seomjin rises from Palgongsan and flows for 212.3 kilometers before reaching its final destination in Gwangyang, where it enters Gwangyang Bay.

The Seomjin watershed comprises some 4,896.5 km². This area includes both farmland and a great deal of pristine mountain country, including the Jirisan area. A wide variety of animals are found along the river, including the European otter, Lutra lutra. Principal tributaries include the Boseong River and Yocheon stream.

The name "Seomjin" literally means "toad ferry." This name is believed to date from Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea in the 1590s. According to legend, a swarm of toads blocked the Japanese army from crossing the Seomjin into northern Jeolla.

Smooth-coated otter

The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is an otter species occurring in most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otter species.

Southlake Moor

Southlake Moor (grid reference ST370300) is a 196.1 hectare (484.6 acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest near Burrow Mump and Burrowbridge in Somerset, notified in 1985.

Southlake Moor forms part of the extensive grazing marsh and ditch system of Somerset Levels and Moors. Southlake Moor is unusual in that, when conditions in the River Parrett are suitable, it may be deliberately flooded in winter by means of a sluice in the river floodbank. Some 96 species of aquatic and bankside vascular plant species have been recorded from Southlake Moor, of particular interest is the greater water-parsnip (Sium latifolium). When the moor is flooded, large numbers of wildfowl may be present; with up to 22,000 wigeon (Anas penelope), 250 Bewick's swan (Cygnus bewickii) and good numbers of pochard (Aythya ferina), teal (Anas crecca) and tufted duck (Aythya fuligula). Regular signs of the otter (Lutra lutra) are to be seen on the muddy banks of the River Parrett. The ditches on the east side of the site contain a population of the palmate newt (Triturus helveticus).During 2009 and 2010 work was undertaken to upgrade sluice gates, watercourses and culverts to enable seasonal flooding during the winter diverting water from the Sowy River onto the moor. It has the capacity to hold 1.2 million cubic metres as part of a scheme by the Parrett Internal Drainage Board to restore ten floodplains in Somerset. In spring the water is drained away to enable the land to be used as pasture during the summer. The scheme is also used to encourage water birds.

Spotted-necked otter

The spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), or speckle-throated otter, is an otter native to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Pearls of Lutra

The Pearls of Lutra is a fantasy novel by Brian Jacques, published in 1996. It is the ninth book published and eleventh chronologically in the Redwall series. The American edition of the novel was published simply as Pearls of Lutra.

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