Otters at Gosforth Nature Reserve – October Journal 2023

Find out what the Otters at Gosforth Nature Reserve are up to in this latest blog.

Although there have been very few otter sightings in Gosforth Nature Reserve in recent weeks the otters are still around. The trail cameras pick them up regularly, mostly at night but there have also been a few daytime recordings. There is a popular scent-marking spot where they sniff to see who has been there before and leave a message of their own.

The next video shows two more visits to the same camera position. The first otter appears to have a small injury on its back so these are probably two different animals. The camera has a wide-angle lens and the otters are only about 18 inches away so they certainly know it is there.

Otters have dense waterproof fur to keep them warm and dry. The outer waterproof guard hairs are up to 2cm long and there is a dense fine layer of underfur to provide insulation.  Someone once counted the hairs in otter skin – there are 400,000 per square inch.

Otters spend a lot of time grooming to keep their fur in good condition. Those that fish in the sea, mostly in Western and Northern Scotland, have to wash in fresh water to get the salt out of their fur. Here is the dog otter pausing to groom before slipping silently back into the water.

Some of the otters’ fur is out of reach of their paws and teeth so they roll and squirm on the ground to rub themselves on the vegetation. The dog otter did this recently right in front of the camera.

Christopher Wren
Local Naturalist and Volunteer

Christopher Wren is a volunteer in Gosforth Nature Reserve and a local naturalist, interested in most areas of natural history, especially mammals and using trail cameras to study their behaviour.

Visit Chris’ blog for more updates on North East’s wildlife – TrogTrogBlog