Sometime in 2015 we saw our first otters at the lake and it was a truly magical experience. Unlike anything else at the lake they are amazing creatures to watch as they glide across the lake surface, play with each other under water and dart across land occasionally. Since seeing them for the first time in the wild our guests have been lucky enough to see them more and more and almost every week we are told about a sighting. Currently we have a family which is regularly seen, consisting of with 3 pups with a mother.
After reaching near extinction in the 1960s and 1970s otters have consequently made a great comeback. The Cotswold Water Park lies at the head of the Thames Valley and we believe that they have re-established themselves in these lakes having slowly worked their way back up the River Thames. Deciding to stay in the lakes that support large and healthy fish populations as well as a variety of other food sources. Otters are typically shy creatures too so they are very much at home around our secluded nature reserve with acres of untouched areas and just our 8 eco cabins hidden away from one another around the lake shore.
Spotting an otter on holiday
If you don’t know exactly what an otter looks like they are long and slender with short legs and long thick tails. A typical fully grown otter is usually around 1 metre from head to tail. Their colouring is pale brownish all over with a lighter whitish brown throat and chin. A swimming otter is mostly submerged and creates a broad, U-shaped wave on the surface with its nose. They can remain under water for up to 4 minutes and can stay submerged for distances of around 400m if they chose to thanks to their streamlined body and webbed feet.
The most likely time to spot an otter is at dawn or dusk. Particularly on a still day when you are more likely to notice the ripples on the still lake surface as they swim across the water. People have occasionally seen them running from one one part of the lake to another and even breaking ice when the lake was partially frozen in the winter! If you want to head out in your rowing boat to look for otters make sure you stay as quiet as possible and row gently to give yourself the best chance of a sighting.
Otters will also take their prey onto land to eat so you may be lucky enough to spot an otter eating a fish on a bank or on one of the lakes islands. Look out for otter tracks around the lake banks as a sign that they might be in the area.
Why not play a game during your stay and see who can see the otters most often. Taking a cup of tea down to your lakeside swing chair or sitting on the end of your pier to start each day is as good a strategy as any. If you’re lucky enough to see otters whilst sitting in your hot tub you received double points! Sun set in the hot tub with otters and you instantly win – what could beat that?!
A family nature holiday in the Cotswold Water Park
Otters are shy creatures so we ask that guests remain quiet when they see them and do not approach towards them. If you are heading out on the 2 mile lake walk why not take the your cabins binoculars with you in case you are lucky enough to see otters along the way. If you’re interested in seeing other rare species at the lake it is a fantastic place for a bird watching holiday. It is thought that up to 200 species of birds visit the Cotswold Water Park each year. Keep a look out for some of our favourites including kingfishers, great crested grebe, osprey and bitten.
The Waterpark Trust have created an excellent wildlife checklist for the area and once printed it’s a great way to see how many varierities of birds, beasts and butterflies you see during your holiday in the Cotswold Water Park. Download the checklist here.
Which cabin should I chose to see the otters?
The otters are constantly moving around to find food and we have had sightings of otters from all 8 of our log cabins. So relax, choose your favourite cabin, book the hot tub and unwind with something fizzy in hand…
Happy otter spotting!