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Otters are familiar animals in books, films and television programmes and are found almost everywhere in the world except the large oceanic islands of Madagascar and Australasia and the frozen ice caps. Otters belong to the group of animals known as the Mustelids. This group includes weasels, stoats, mink, skunks and badgers. The Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary has been carefully designed to provide our resident otters with the best possible conditions within the confines of the enclosures and our visitors with excellent opportunities to see and enjoy them. We also have facilities for the treatment and convalescence of any sick or injured otters that may be brought to us. We have over the past 15 years treated a number of ailments, not only to otters but also to other animals and birds. It is hoped that having seen and enjoyed our resident otters, and been given an insight into their secret way of life, visitors will be more aware of the plight of otters world-wide, particularly of course our own native British Otter Lutra lutra.

In all there are 19 accepted species of otter ranging in size from the Asian Short Clawed Otter, Amblonyx cinerea which is about the size of a large domestic cat, to sea otters, river otters, and the giant Brazilian otter Pteronura brasiliensis which can grow to over 2.5m in length and weigh over 35kg. Some of the otters here may be rescued, some have been bred here, others are part of breeding exchanges and some are just very old, in need of extra care and are here for retirement! There are three species to be seen, our native British or European otter which can be shy and elusive in the wild, the playful little Asian otters which are a joy to watch and the large North American River Otters who are real show-offs.

This is great fun and takes place at 11.30am, 2.00pm & 4.00pm every day (in season). The otter keeper takes visitors around at this time and explains all about the different otters and answers any questions that visitors may have. Why not find out more about the three different species we have by going to there own pages: British or European Otters; Asian Short-clawed Otters; North American Otters

Otters and Butterflies