Animal of the year 2024 - Eurasian otter

Lutra lutra

The otter inhabits the banks of water bodies, especially rivers. It spends much of its time in the water, rarely venturing far from it. It typically digs its burrow in a steep river bank, with the entrance under water and an air hole in the ceiling.

The otter has almost no natural enemies. Only in winter when its home water body freezes over and it ventures far from water in search of food can a wolf or lynx kill an exhausted individual.

The otter is a protected species in Estonia but nevertheless in a favourable condition. It is threatened mainly by human factors such as water pollution, loss of habitats, and beaver traps. Otter hunting was prohibited in 1975.