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ECOSA have extensive experience in surveying for otter, including the identification of field signs associated with this species and the use of remote-sensing equipment to confirm presence, and to identify key foraging and commuting habitat.

The European otter is the only native UK otter species and their habitats are fully protected under UK and European legislation making it an offence, deliberately or by not taking enough care, to:

  • capture, kill, disturb or injure otters;
  • damage or destroy a breeding or resting place; or
  • obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places.

Otters are found in the vicinity of rivers, streams, lakes, sea and marshland. Development plans that will affect such water bodies directly or with a change to noise and light levels will need to consider potential impacts to otters.

Using our survey data to devise appropriate mitigation strategies, we have successfully obtained Natural England EPSM licences for development works affecting this species and its resting places. Mitigation works range from the establishment of temporary exclusion zones to the construction of artificial otter holts.

Otter surveys

An initial site assessment would be followed up by surveys appropriate to the site and the nature of the evidence found. Evidence of otters includes dung (spraints), tracks, feeding remains, otter slides (into water), holts (underground dens) and couches (above ground resting sites).

Survey timing

Otter surveys can be carried out at any time of year.

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