Otter at Ackworth

I’ve seen mink on the Went at Ackworth School in the past and I’ve recently spent some time trying to get trailcam video, without success. I was very pleased, therefore, to find out earlier today that some of the groundsmen put out a camera before Christmas and managed to get a very exciting set of clips.

The camera recorded the expected mink but it also recorded visits by an otter. It is great to see that otter are now living in Ackworth after being missing for many years because of the effects of persecution and insecticides such as DDT.

You will see that the otter pauses to scent-mark the dark object – probably a broken brick – before entering the river. The fox that visits the same spot also pauses to leave its scent.

Although the distinctive tapering tail of the otter allows us to be sure about identification, it would be nice to get a shot of the otter’s face and this will be the objective in the coming weeks.

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5 Responses to Otter at Ackworth

  1. John Gardner says:

    Amazing! I keep hearing tales of otter in Wakefield but there’s no disputing this one – nicely caught on video!

  2. Think I saw two young otter today on wier outside Hepworth museum – only saw for a second, could be wrong

    • Francis Hickenbottom says:


      I am sure that otters are now on most, if not all, suitable local waterways. I am trying to get footage of otters on the Calder in Wakefield but it isn’t easy to find secure sites for a camera. All of the footage that I habe so far is of mink. Regarding your sighting, I have never recorded footage of small otters without their mother being with them. I have footage of siblings moving around together without a parent but they are 12+ months old and the same size as adults. How confident are you about telling the difference between otters and mink?

  3. Thanks Francis

    Could have missed seeing the mother of course but no, am not confident I could tell the difference between briefly-glimpsed mink/otter. But good to hear that otters seem so established in the Wakefield area.



  4. Andrew Hubbertz says:

    This afternoon my wife and I saw three otters working along the shoreline in Wakefield, from near the old train station to the road junction leading up to 5. They appeared to be munching on shellfish. They were swimming and hunting at about the same pace we had, walking along the boardwalk.

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