You’d be lucky to see an otter on the canal - but you can find the signs that prove they are around.
The otter is in the same family as the weasel, mink and badger, and the largest of them all. It is a fast and skilled swimmer, able to stay underwater for several minutes. It feeds on eels, frogs and waterside birds.
Otters are rarely seen because they come out at night. During the day, they rest in ‘holts’, hidden in dense waterside vegetation. Our otters probably live on the River Severn, but visit the canal to feed.
Under the canal bridge you’ll see lots of dark splodges – this is otter ‘spraint’ or droppings, made up of fish bones and scales. Surprisingly it smells sweet and musky rather than fishy.
Otters leave their spraint under bridges and tunnels so it doesn’t get washed away. They use it to deter other otters from encroaching on their territory.
After disappearing from most counties, otters are now making a comeback throughout Wales and England. It is against the law to disturb or harm them.
Listen carefully – the chirping of a young otter sounds like a bird!
Although our trail stops here, you can walk on. Belan Locks and picnic area is only 1km further. Beyond that is the pretty village of Berriew and further still the thriving town of Newtown.
Last date edited: 17 July 2015