This timid and rarely seen animal is the largest European mustelid and belongs to the order of carnivorans. It is a terrestrial animal that has adapted perfectly to life in and by water, which is why it is considered as the best swimmer out of all terrestrial animals.
Its thick and waterproof coat, webbed feet, blubber, and a strong and muscular tail are just some of the ways it has adapted to staying effortlessly in water for longer periods.
It is a large predator that feeds mostly on fish, but also on other species of amphibians, crustaceans, birds, smaller mammals and aquatic insects.
Otters can very rarely be spotted in the wild. It is a nocturnal animal that hides at the first sign of danger in thick coastal vegetation or its dens by the coast. Its traces can be found the easiest by the coast, such as tracks in mud or in snow during winter, or spraints and jelly-like secretions with an intense smell used by male otters to mark their territory (they are extremely territorial).
The area of the Plitvice Lakes National Park provides a perfect habitat where this species can live undisturbed. It can usually be seen in the early morning, swimming in lakes while looking for prey.
Otters tend to create a U-shaped wave with their elegant swimming movements, with only their eyes and nose visible above the surface.
Expert service staff are tracing otter presence in the Park area through “Monitoring of Species with the Purpose of Preserving the Ecological Network HR5000020 of Plitvice Lakes NP – Lutra Lutra Otter”.