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Entries in Otter Edinburgh Wildlife (4)


Thank you Greener Leith for this Photo and Article - I love it


Sad News - Otter found dead on Lanark Road

We have very sad news this week as a young (possibly female) otter was found dead on the Lanark Road. It had been hit by a car while trying to cross the road near Kingsknowe Golf Course. We think she is the otter which travels regularly from the canal to the river in this area. We do not think she is our resident otter who is much bigger. Also our resident otter was spotted by a volunteer last night...much to our relief. But this is very sad indeed, especially to loose such a young one. She may well have been one of the young the Water of Leith otter had 18 months ago.

We have taken the rather macarb step of freezing her and are looking in to having her stuffed to use as an education resource at the Visitor Centre. We currently have a stuffed badger 'Stripy' who is a big hit with visiting school children - who have never seen or touched a life size badger. We hope the otter will be equally appreciated and help us to teach about the importance and biology of otters.


Otter spotted in Leith

A friend of the Trust, Nicolas Whitelaw, has been seeking otters in the wilds of Scotland and has finally seen one from is own home on Sandport Way in Leith! Last Saturday lunchtime he was treated to this magnificent view of our otter. See pictures.

Nicolas said -  It come up from the water along an alley to the car park and explored the perimetre of the car park and had a slight altercation with a dog before returning back to the river.

once again do let us know if you spot the otter. 





The North American mink is unfortunately becoming a common sight along the Water of Leith. In the past few weeks we have had 5 sightings of this unwelcome visitor. With so many birds beginning to hatch chicks I am sad to say it is a boom time for this ferret like mammal. One alarming report from Stockbridge suggested that a family or group of 5 mink were out hunting together!.

Sadly there is very little we can do to halt the action of mink or remove them from our river. Trapping and shooting is a costly and tricky activity in urban areas particularly as children may find the traps or domestic cats may enter by mistake. We do however keep an eye on their activity so do report any sightings to us - date, time of day, exact location and if possible grid refernce.

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is about the difference between otters and mink

Mink -  generally have a long slim body covered in glossy, thick dark brown fur with a white patch under the chin, however they can appear grey or black. Adults are between 20 and 24 inched long and they have short legs with partially webbed feet, which make them excellent swimmers. They can be found in wooded areas and fields near streams and lakes. They do not dig burrows, but instead take over dens abandoned by other animals. They will hunt day or night. So if you see a mammal out during the day dark chocolate in colour and smaller than a cat chances are its a mink. See the following link for more info:

 Otters - are generally larger and nearly always much more elusive prefering to live alone and hunt at dusk and dawn. More of a milk chocolate colour with a paler underside they have large webbed feet and a thick powerful rudder like tail. They are fairly large up to a meter in length, so are more like the size of a dog. They dig their own homes call holts and feed more or less exclusively on fish. Otters are spotted fairly frequently on the river often by fishermen.

This is a picture of the Water of Leith otter taken in 2008 by Gerry