Guide East Devon residents Coronavirus update - 05 June 2020

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14. Wild East Devon update

‘Shy and secretive, otters are water loving mammals which spend their lives in or near water sources. We once almost lost otters from the UK, after years of hunting, habitat destruction and pesticide use,  their numbers crashed. Pleasingly at our Seaton Wetlands nature reserve there has been regular signs that otters have moved in to the nature reserve and made themselves at home. Along the water edges the rangers have almost daily seen otter tracks and spraints, although the elusive resident was reluctant to show themselves. Trail cameras are a great way to capture footage of wildlife during the times you are away, and do not disturb the animals. They can be attached easily to a branch or tree in an area where you think animals use regularly, taking images triggered by any movement nearby.  The trail cameras have picked up regular photos and videos of the otter patrolling his territory. We think this otter is a male, a dog otter, by his large size and broad face. So far he seems to be generally nocturnal, most often picked up by the otter cam at night or at dusk just after sunset.  So far we haven’t seen any footage of a female in the area, but no doubt there probably is one further down the river. We are hopeful one might appear closer to the wetlands, which would be fantastic! As the otter has been very active, we are hoping that his presence will deter any invasive american mink in the area. Although otters are much more shy and secretive that the American mink, they are also bigger and stronger. A large male Otter would see mink as competition for food and prime habitat and would likely drive off any mink from his territory. As there has been increasing signs of an otter in the area, we have also had less signs of any mink around. This is great news and we hope that the otter remains at the wetlands in the future!’