Otters will soon be living in the heart of Torquay
Living Coasts, on the harbourside, is to be home to a pair of European otters.
The attraction – a registered charity – will create a new exhibit to be called Otter Rapids. This will have both fresh and salt water pools, a gushing stream, grass, sand and stones and a pond with an underwater viewing window. It will replace the sea ducks, which will move to Penguin Beach.
Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: “They are busy, charismatic, sociable animals – they will make a terrific addition to our collection. We want to keep on making Living Coasts better and better – that’s why we are bringing these lovely mammals to the English Riviera.”
The European otter (Lutra lutra), also known as the Eurasian otter, Eurasian river otter, common otter and Old World otter, is the most widely distributed otter species, its range including parts of Asia and Africa as well as Europe. A mature European otter can be three-quarters of a metre in length, with the tail half as long as the body.
Otters eat food amounting to about 10% of their body weight each day. When diving underwater, otters can slow down their heart rate to reduce oxygen consumption and close their ears and nostrils. The otter’s long whiskers are touch sensitive – underwater, they can feel the changes in water flow when a fish is approaching.
Work on the exhibit will start in the new year. Staff hope it will be finished in time for the 2012 summer season.