Otter

The otter is a member of the weasel family that was threatened with extinction in Sweden. Skansen has been involved in a highly successful project to release otters into the wild.

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The otter (Lutra lutra) is a species of mustelid that lives on the coast or by lakes or rivers. It may seem clumsy on dry land but in the water it is very agile, being expert at diving and swimming.

Otters find most of their food in water. They prefer fish and frogs but also eat crayfish and sea-birds. Otters hunt mostly at night. During the day they sleep underground or beneath a rock on the shore. Skansen’s otters are visible principally at feeding time which is about two o’clock. 

Otters were common in Sweden until the 1950s and they were hunted for their fine pelts. Today otters are rare in Sweden and they are protected all year round. The severe reduction in numbers is mainly due to the high levels of environmental poisons in the fish they eat, intensive hunting during the 1950s and 60s as well as the fact that their habitat is destroyed or disturbed by leisure activities.


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