IUCN Otter Specialist Group . . . leading global otter conservation Last Update: Tuesday January 3, 2012
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Questions and Answers: In-Depth Responses

I believe I saw a Otter today (12th March 2007) by the river bank in Ashdod Israel (west Israel). Has there been any sighings in this area? The web sites I have visited indicate that they are found in the Jordan river which is the top end of Israel ( Miles away). Can't be 100% sure it was a Otter.

Chris Day , 12 March 2007

I went back yesterday (13th March) and I saw 2 more for a few seconds, as they ran off into the undergrowth. I saw the tail this time and it looked the same as the photos online. Unfortunately I did not have the time to get any photos.

They were about 10 yards from the river on a dirt path. There was a lot of foilage for cover. Although the river bank was very high it went down at about 45 degrees. The time was 12.30 (midday), the temp was about 20 degrees C and sunny.

The name of the river is the LACHISH RIVER. It is about 1-2 miles before the river reaches the sea.

I went to the tourist office to see if they knew anything about Otters in this area. Not much luck as they did not understand what was an Otter. The person said she would try to find out, but I am not expecting anything.

The Lachish River runs through an industrial area and has been polluted in the past. It has been cleaned up in the last few years. There are Kingfishers by the river, so there must be plenty of fish in the river.

If they are not Otters I do not know what they could be. If I can find any local information I will let you know (there is a language problem).

Chris Day , 14 March 2007

Have attached 4 photos of foot prints
The coin in 2 of the photos is 26mm diameter

Footprint 1
Footprint 2
Footprint 3
Footprint 4

Chris Day , 24 March 2007

Response from Jim Conroy, Chairman, Otter Specialist Group

I am fairly certain these are not otter tracks - they are too 'claw-ey'. Having recently done work on feral coypu, I believe these are coypu tracks (Myocastor coypus), and Israel does have a population of these animals in this area. They are hard to distinguish in the wild if the sighting is brief - see these photos of Israeli coypu, illustrating how otter-like they look.

The 2nd Album of Flowers and Wildlife of Israel

I've been fooled myself sometimes! It would have been very exciting if these had turned out to be otter trackes, but we all feel that this is not, sadly, the case.

Response provided 18 April 2007