Posted on July 3, 2010 - by Denise
Last week, I wrote a post about the effect of the introduction of mink on water vole populations. This week, I wanted to write one on how to tell the difference between the otter and the water vole. It’s easy to mistake them because they’re from the same Mustelid family (that also contains badgers, stoats and pine martens).
They have similar river habitats.
Likelihood of seeing them
Otters are currently much rarer than the mink, which makes your sighting more likely to be a mink. Also, otters are much more secretive and tend to shy away from the presence of humans. Mink are more brazen and may continue in the presence of humans. Mink have also been known to stand their ground against cats or dogs.
Mid-brown (although they look darker in water), with a pale underside.
Dark brown, almost black.
Underside is not pale.
- Rounded, slightly flattened muzzle (similar shape to a common seal).
- Round, cylindrical tail.
- Pointed muzzle.
- Tails tapers to a point.
Up to 1.2m long.
Otter droppings have a sweet smell (some would say of lavender); mink droppings do not have this odour.
Photograph of otter by Baerni
Photograph of mink by Mwanner