Sophie Neville with her tame otter
We have kept tame otters at Bakers Mill since 1980. These are not the large, secretive European otters that are native to Britain but sociable Asian short-clawed otters bred in wildlife parks that we've been asked to hand-rear, usually because they have been neglected by their mothers. We keep them, under license, for educational purposes. Their enclosure has a stream running through it and bath-tubs where they swim. They are cautious about of swimming in the deep water of our lake - unless we swim with them, which is a somewhat demanding experience. Being sociable the otters love showing off and are regularly taken both for walks and off to country shows around England and Wales where you can watch them and ask questions about otters.
Daphne Neville with her otters
There are thirteen different species of otter. They are often elusive and difficult to spot but I have watched European (or Eurasian) otters fishing along the coast of Skye, spotted spotted-necked otters playing in the Okavango Delta and Cape-clawless otters swimming at Knotsie Bay in South Africa. My mother has travelled the world to see to them in the wild ~ to California where you find the sea otter, India where she supports the hairy-nosed otter project, to an International Otter Convention in Chile and has even swum in the Orinoco River with the giant otters of Bolivia that can reach twelve foot in length.
Beenie the Otter with Sophie Neville in the Daily Telegraph