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Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) home page | Sponsored by Welsh Assembly Government NRW Logo

Countryside Council for Wales
Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.


For centuries otters have thrived in the lakes, rivers and expansive coastlines of Wales.  Otters move quickly on land but are best known for their dazzling speed, agility and endearing playfulness in the water.

While they move easily on land – covering up to 10 km a night – otters are the swimming athletes of the animal kingdom.  A powerful tail propels their perfectly streamlined body effortlessly through the water.

At up to a metre in length including their tails, otters are large animals but are seldom spotted.  Their senses are highly acute and if they see, hear or smell a predator or person, they swiftly conceal themselves in undergrowth or water.

Otters come to life at night when they hunt for prey, breed and socialise.  During the day they lay back and relax in bramble bushes or tall grass.  Otters prey mainly on fish but in spring extend their diet to amphibians, birds and other small animals.

At a time when they had disappeared from large parts of lowland England, otters continued to thrive in mainland Wales. Their numbers dropped sharply during the 1960s and 70s but recent conservation efforts and better water quality mean they are returning to their former ranges throughout Wales.
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The habitats and species team
C/O Enquiries
LL57 2DW
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0845 1306229
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