Barnmead's picture

Otter spraint

Observed: 21st March 2010 By: Barnmead
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
Barnmead’s reputation in MammalsBarnmead’s reputation in Mammals

Lump of greyish material near a bridge over a stream with footprints close by. Otters have been increasing in numbers in Norfolk.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Otter (Lutra lutra) interacts


Norwichnaturalist's picture


Did it smell of fish, have fish scales in it? If not maybe Mink spraint with fur in it

Colin Jacobs.
Wild Flower Society member

anonymous spotter's picture


I was told that otter spraint has a faint smell of hay, rather than fish. But should have fish scales in it for sure.

Barnmead's picture

Didn't get that near I'm

Didn't get that near I'm afraid!


the naturalist man's picture


I've blown this up and can not see any fur, only fish bones. However, hidden amongst debris is an unusual place to find otter spraints, although under a bridge is a good place.

They are pungent, actually smells like jasmine tea, which I think smells of fish anyway! When I used to train people to look for otters I always carried a flask of jasmine tea so they could identify the smell.

Because they use their spraints to make territory, and they are so smelly, otters usually defecate on a high point so the smell spreads better. Was this in a more prominent position than the photos implies? Could it have been washed down by rain from a higher vantage point further up the bank?

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

Barnmead's picture


I suppose it could have been washed down. That was what I was told it was on a nature walk that is done by NWT each month. The photo was taken from a bridge. I couldn't make them out, but they said there were footprints nearby as well.