I have just been reading about the Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra, Fischotter) and they are, as you can well imagine, completely fascinating creatures.
First of all, their home ranges are HUGE. Males in Scotland have territories along streams and shorelines 39km long, while females only use 16-22km. They will have a good number of resting areas spread out throughout the home range. These otter resting areas are either underground, dry grass-lined dens often with an underwater entrance and separate breathing entrance (holts), and above-ground "hovers". In the areas where they are nocturnal, they typically travel 3-10km in an evening while hunting.
The original of this image is super-sharp and the colours on my mac screen as stunning. Probably my favorite digiscoping photo of the year. Digiscoped with a Swarovski Optik STM80HD, TLS800 and Canon 5DII.
I have not been able to find any recent evidence of otters in Tirol, with two major populations persisting in Austria: one in the north of the country (Waldviertel, Weinviertel in Upper Austria and Lower Austria), and one in the southeast of the country (Styria, Steiermark).
Map from the Naturschutzbund Niederösterreich report "Zur Situation des Fischotters in Österreich: Verbreitung, Lebensraum, Schutz". Green is where they were found in 2000. Red or orange means they were not found. White means the area was not investigated but unlikely to hold otters.
The two photos here are my favourite of the few digiscoping images I managed to get of the otters in Alpenzoo recently. They were both taken with a Swarovski Optik STM80 HD straight spotting scope, TLS800 digiscoping adapter, and a Canon 5D mark II.
Hopefully one day the otter will make a return to the Alps - I would love to be able to experience this incredible creature in their home environment,