April 19th, 2015
Caution must be used with baby otters. The key here is to make sure that what you have is really an orphan, if you bother a baby otter under the care of a parent, you will have a dangerous situation at hand as mum will not tolerate the disturbance of her kits.
Newborn baby otters: if you find one outside of a holt (otter hole) with its eyes still closed, then there may be a problem. You must leave it alone and do not touch, and have a quiet look back in about an hour, do not linger or watch from a distance, you will be smelled out and the parent will not retrieve the young one.
Usually the parent will retrieve the kit and all will be well. If the kit is still there and travelling around calling, or has been joined by other kits it may well be that the parent has been injured and has not returned. Do not touch the kits, phone your local vet or sanctuary for advice.
As the kits get older (6 weeks) they look like miniature adults and will be seen at evening times playing outside the holt, even without mum. they will be pouncing and playing like dog pups and in and out of the set. Do not disturb, and dont tell anyone where they are, the less they are disturbed the better.
Kits lying around the set entrance, calling and collapsed however may need assistance, do not touch, call your vet or local sanctuary for advice ASAP.
Kits left parentless on roadsides (often beside a dead parent) however should be transferred to your nearest vet / sanctuary ASAP as they will nead specialist feeding and rehydration therapy.
Otter kits follow mum in a line, and often get left behind. It does not take them long to dehydrate and we have had many instances where a kit has been found following people out walking, following pushchairs and wheelchairs and sheltering under parked cars. If this happens to you, stay with the kit, but do not touch it, and phone your vet or canctuary for advice. However if the kit appears to be collapsing, shaking or is being pestered by flies you should follow the procedure below:
Even though they are small, they can still bite, wear thick garden gloves and pop the kit into a pet carrier with a thick towel and take to a specialist. You must have somewhere to take the kit ready before you get him into the car as you will be in serious trouble if you are stopped by the police with otter kits in your vehicle and no excuse for it.
You can not raise the kit yourself, it takes months of specialist care and facilities and if brought up wrongly they cannot be released back into the wild. Get a professional.