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Otters by Paul Chanin

Otters by Paul Chanin


Otters by Paul Chanin  First Edition

About the Book: 

“The otter is one  of the best loved of our mammals – lucky indeed the person who sees one in the wild (the author’s advice is to take up fishing, since most reports of sightings come from fishermen) but if you can’t see one, the next best thing is to detect where they have been, and here is the lore of the otter watcher -  signs such as slides, footprints and droppings (which in the case of the otter are honoured with several special names, ‘spraint’, ‘coke’, ‘wedging’ and the unpronounceable ‘tredeles.’)

1st Edition 1993  published by Whittet Books Ltd, 18 Anley Road , London W14 0BY

This is a first edition  of a superbly interesting and informative book by one of the UK’s leading ecologists on the subject of otters and other mammals. An updated new edition of the book was released 20 years later in 2013.

A very good hardback book one of the British Natural History Series

Size: 21.5cm x 15cm

Cover photograph: Otter John Daniels/Adrea

Cover design: Richard Kelly

127 Pages including index + black and white illustrations

Illustrations by Guy Troughton

38 superbly drawn black and white illustrations as well as 15 others, maps, cartoons and tables


More about the book….

The book describes the otter’s solitary life style and interaction with other otters; its range of sounds; its methods of fishing ( a combination of sight and whiskers) its breeding season (any time in southern Britain, but only in the summer in the Shetlands) where and when it sleeps; what it eats (from mole crickets to rabbits) and many other facts.

Unthinkable as it is now, otter hunting continued until the mid-1970s, by which time numbers had reached a worrying low. Some use of dieldrin and related compounds -  which were believed to be to blame -  were banned in the 1960s, but numbers of otters (unlike those of peregrines, for instance) stubbornly refused to increase to any great extent until the 1980s. The author discusses the possible reasons and exonerates one of the popular culprits -  the mink.


Biography of Author:

Written in 1993 Paul Chanin’s biography reads

 “After obtaining a degree from Cambridge university in 1971, Paul Chanin moved to Exeter University to carry out research for a PhD on feral mink. He first encountered otters during this study and has been involved in otter conservation and research ever since. In 1971 he joined the Adult Education Department of Exeter University and since then his research interests have expanded from mink and otters via badgers and pine marten to red deer and spider moneys.”


Today Paul Chanin is an ecologist specialising in mammals, Paul was brought up on a farm in the Cotswolds, moving to Devon in 19171 to study mink and otters at Exeter University. After 24 years as a lecturer in the university’s Adult Education Department he has spent the last 20 years as an ecological consultant, He has written two books on otters and has wide interest in wildlife, ecology and conservation.

Find out more at


OTTERS  by Paul Chanin Table of contents. 


What are otters?

Where do otters live?

Signs of otters

Where can I see an otter?

Size, shape and appearance

Living in water

Otter senses



Finding and catching prey

What do otters eat?

Otters and their prey

Otter movements and activities

Territory and living space

Social life and behaviour


Growing up

How long do otters live?

Are otters pests?

Hunting otters

Decline and fall

Otters and mink

Otter surveys

Current threats


Further information



Book CONDITION is very good.

Boards: Very good with slight bumping to corners and some faint marks on back cover.

Binding: Tight,

Spine: No sun fade on spine: signs of wear on ends.

Pages.  All pages complete. No foxing.  Frontispiece, Illustrated front and rear free endpapers are good. There may be the odd small spot to contents but overall bright and clean.

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