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  • Eurasian otter in Zoo Zurich.

    Eurasian otter

    Lutra lutra lutra

    Unlike harbor seals, otters do not have an insulating layer of fat. The fur, on the other hand, provides the otter with effective insulation against the cold and wet. The hairs are interlocked with microscopic grooves and anchors. This dense fur mesh holds insulating air bubbles and repels water. In this way, the skin of the otter remains dry. After the otter went extinct in Switzerland in the second half of the 20th century (1989), there are now increasing indications that this water marten is returning to Switzerland. Since 2009, reliable evidence of free-living otters in Switzerland has been obtained annually.

    Taxonomy Carnivorans, caniforms, musteloids, mustelids, otters, Eurasian otter (several subspecies)
    Habitat shores of streams and lakes, wetlands
    Activity pattern crepuscular and nocturnal, hunting in water and on land
    Social structure solitary, mother with young
    Diet fish, amphibians, mice, small birds, invertebrates
    Weight females 4 to 6 kg, males 4 to 10 kg, newborn 100 g
    Head to torso length 60 to 80 cm
    Shoulder height 22 cm
    Tail length 30 to 40 cm
    Gestation time 52 to 63 days
    Litter size 1 to 4 young
    Age at sexual maturity after 18 to 24 months
    Life expectancy up to 22 years
    Commerce Fur
    Current population regionally eradicated - also in Switzerland; Repopulation through immigration from neighboring countries
    At Zoo Zurich since 1952, internationally coordinated breeding (EEP)


    Verbreitungskarte Europäischer Fischotter

    Animal sound


    M. Speck, Turgi
    Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Team Switzerland
    M. Bachmann, Winkel
    Gemeinde Geroldswil
    S. Tanner, Zürich
    Th. Meier, Bühler
    B. +. M. Weisenhorn-Schlegel, Zürich
    Ch. + R. Berger, Ludiano
    F. Martins, Zürich
    H. Zürcher, Oberwangen
    C. Benz + F. Buenzli, Zürich
    M. Glinz, Neftenbach
    K. Weber, Zürich
    D. Hanselmann, Affoltern am Albis
    A. Brütsch + Th. Frei, Galgenen
    L. Canonica, Zürich
    M. Rickli, Altendorf
    M. Baumgartner, Nürensdorf
    O. Federer-Bazzi, Hinwil
    N. Perrottet, Wetzikon
    R. Hänggi, Rafz
    D. + P. Ritsch, Chur
    M. Wyss, Zürich
    M. Lehmann, Zürich
    Basler & Hofmann AG, Zürich
    Gemeindeverwaltung Gossau ZH
    H. Thierbach, Pfäffikon ZH
    lutra analytics GmbH, Zürich
    S. Eilmes, Oftringen
    P. Bitzer, Richterswil
    Trisoco GmbH, Glattbrugg
    S. Eigenheer, Dänikon ZH
    C. Blöchlinger, Trimmis
    J. Stössel, Baar
    Ch. B. Staehelin, Zürich
    K. Fischer, Winterthur
    P. Haberzeth, Bachenbülach
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    Conservation status

    IUCN RedList

    Breeding programme