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Otters live on water courses and are afforded legal protection under schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It is illegal to kill, injure or capture an otter, or destroy, damage, or obstruct an otter resting place, or intentional or recklessly disturbing an otter while it is occupying its resting place. Despite having undergone huge population declines in the last century, they are now well established in most of the UK, but still, have low numbers in the southeast.
Otters can inhabit most types of water courses, and can even use ditches for dispersal. They are also found in urban areas.
Otters are mainly nocturnal, solitary animals that feed on fish.
Otters are hard to find, and otter survey techniques must look for a variety of signs, such as droppings, footprints, resting places and slides. Although otter surveys can take place any time of year it is better when the water level is low, and when the vegetation has died back. Wildlife cameras can also be used to assist with surveys.
Phlorum can provide advice for developments concerned about impacting upon otters and are able to carry out otter surveys and devise appropriate mitigation strategies where required. Surveys for otters may be conducted throughout the year.