Otter and Water Vole surveys

Otter survey image

Our experienced surveyors conduct Otter surveys and Water Vole surveys throughout Shropshire, the West Midlands, Wales and the UK.

Otters – protection and survey

Like dormice and bats, Otters are a European Protected Species (EPS) protected under both European and UK law. Since the 1950s, Otters have returned to much of their former UK range and their distribution continues to expand. Surveys for Otter follow a methodology adapted from the Otter Survey of England 1991-1994 (Strachan and Jeffries, 1996). This involves experienced surveyors conducting a detailed visual inspection of suitable habitat – including watercourses, drainage ditches, other wetland areas and adjacent habitats – for evidence of current or former use. Evidence may include the presence of holts, spraints, seals or footprints, as well as characteristic slides on the banks of watercourses and water entrance/exit points.

The Water Vole

The Water Vole has declined significantly in both abundance and distribution over recent years, and is protected by UK law. Since they are focussed on the same broad habitat types, Water Vole surveys can often be conducted in tandem with Otter surveys, providing cost savings.  Surveys are based on a modified version of the methodology described in the Water Vole Conservation Handbook Second Edition (Strachan and Moorhouse, 2006) and involve searches of suitable areas for the characteristic signs of Water Vole presence, which may include latrines, droppings, feeding stations, footprints, tunnels, runways and characteristic ‘lawns’ near burrow entrances.

Contact us for further information or to organise a survey.