Common damage issues include consumption of fish in stocked ponds and the use of boat docks and fishing piers as latrine sites, which can require routine clean-up and can be sources of disease (bacteria, parasitic, etc.).

Damage Identification

Before developing an otter control plan, be sure to correctly identify the source of the problem. Partially consumed fish aren’t automatically indicative of otter presence. Fish deaths can have a variety of natural causes which include, but are not limited to: illness, parasites, and low oxygen levels. Dead fish will float to the surface and become available to a variety of scavengers, including raccoons, skunks, mink, birds-of-prey, and others. Although a visual sighting is best, it is not always possible to identify an otter at a distance. A combination of fish heads, tracks and scat will provide more certainty of otter presence in an area. If you suspect an otter issue, but are uncertain, contact your local county agent to help confirm the cause of the problem.

Damage Prevention and Control

Dealing with otters can be difficult, as otters are agile, curious, and can get around many types of exclusions. There are various options to help prevent future damage and provide at least a level of damage control for many potential otter-human issues. Like all wildlife-human conflicts, however, dealing with otter damage, no matter the method used, will ultimately be a short-term fix to a long-term problem. Prevention methods, generally more costly, tend to have longer success at keeping problems from reoccurring likely have to be repeated in the future as new issues arise.

For more information on damage prevention and control click on one of the items below.

  • Non-lethal options
  • Lethal options
    • Shooting
    • Trapping