With otter numbers in decline across Wales, how can you spot the mammals in Cardiff? Image: Jeff Chard

Otters in Cardiff: Where can you spot them?

The creatures can be found across the city’s waterways, but their population is in decline

THOUGH they seem like an urban myth, otters can be found throughout Cardiff’s main waterways, the rivers Taff, Ely and Rhymney.

The Taff is a key location for spotting otters and there have been sightings near Hailey Park in north Cardiff, Bute Park, and even in the bay.

“We have found a couple of otters near Bute Park. If you go along the banks of the River Taff, they can have quite wide home ranges so you can find them from Bute Park all the way up to Cardiff Bay,” said Amy Laird, a research assistant at Cardiff University Otter Project.

Recent otter sightings in Cardiff are indicated by red pins. The furthest north is Hailey Park, the middle is Bute Park and the bottom is Cardiff Bay.

The semi-aquatic mammals are nocturnal and elusive in nature, so they are often only seen in brief glimpses.

They rest and breed in underground dens in dense riverbank vegetation, which makes it even harder to spot them.

An otter on a piece of driftwood. Otters are at the top of many of the freshwater food chains in the UK. Image: Jeff Chard

Unfortunately, it appears that otters are in decline across Wales.

Surveys carried out by Natural Resources Wales in collaboration with Cardiff University’s Otter Project have found a substantive decline in their population for the first time since the 1970s.

  • Find out more about the work of the otter project here.