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The Otter [Hardcover]

James Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010
Back from the brink of extinction, the otter is making a come-back in Britain today. Author James Williams, a life-long enthusiast of this fascinating, enigmatic creature, dispells some the mysteries in this beautifully-illustrated book: * Reasons for the near-disappearance of the otter in the 1980s and the reasons for its recovery today * Why otters patrol their territories and fight for them * Breeding, natural history and behaviour * Unusual otter information: blind otters, the work of otter groups, the difficulties of introducing otters in the wild, their surprising ability to live close to man * Otters as predators their impact on fish stocks, the difficulty of fish-hunting in cold water, their favourite foods * Tracking otters through their prints, and through their spraints * Helping the otter to survive in the 21st century

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Merlin Unwin Books; First edition (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906122229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906122225
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 18.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An entertaining and delightful read...This mongraph by a lifelong otter expert is a pleasure, and would make a warm and informative read for any countryside and wildlife lover. --BBC Countryfile, October 2011

One of the best accounts I have read in recent years. Well written, easy to read and very informative...This is a must have on any bookshelf of any naturalist. --Highland News Group, November 2010

About the Author

James Williams James Williams has spent a lifetime otter watching, from his boyhood in the Lake District, to his adult life in Somerset. He taught English in Taunton, but his west-country residence gave him the opportunity to study and record the changing fortunes of this elusive and fascinating mammal, from its near-extinction in the mid-1980s to its remarkable, though precarious, recovery today. Actively involved in many initiatives to monitor and aid the otters restoration, Chairman of the Somerset Wildlife Trusts Otter Group, James continues to train and inspire a new generation of otter-enthusiasts through his popular training days and his role in various surveys.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Williams The Otter 12 Sep 2010
James Williams' book is both an unusual and thought-provoking read. It primarily narrates the decline and uncertain rise of the European Otter and examines the human element and endeavour involved.
Never afraid of discussion, this book throws ideas and ethical conundrums into the ring, from the early days of the otter hunts to animal charities policy of releasing hand reared cubs.
The book's value lies in its ability to pull the various research projects and initiatives together into a cohesive story and to examine where we are in our understanding of this most difficult to understand species.
Mr Williams' long personal involvement with so many projects and from his current position of Chairman of the Somerset Otter Group has afforded an insight hard to match. What shines through every page is the author's admiration and compassion for the otter and his determination to give this most special of species the helping hand it deserves.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otters 7 Sep 2010
James Williams has spent a lifetime studying otters in England. His knowledge and easy literary style have combined to produce a book all readers will enjoy. 'The Otter', gives comprehensive, up to date information on this secretive animal, its decline to near extinction and its recent recovery. The authors enthusiasm, dedication and love of otters shine through each page. A lovely book to read, and made stunning by the best collection of colour photographs of otters ever published in one book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the otter 30 Jan 2011
By C. ross
Bought as a xmas present and have followed up response from recipient. Good reference book and easy to read. Was very pleased to receive and high marks so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended highly 13 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I work as an ecologist and have recently conducted my own research into otter ecology and prey consumption on my local Bristol Avon.

I have read many publications and books on otters and this one is very good.

This book not only describes the ecology of the otter very well, but it also explains the unique insight that the otter hunts had into otter numbers and otter behaviour, and explains the background into the reasons for their decline, which we still do not fully understand.

Easy to read yet extremely informative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an engaging book! 19 Sep 2010
By Wendy Steward - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted to learn more about the life and habits of the otter, which I did through this book. But I finished the book with much more than that - a real appreciation for the interrelationships between species, and the role humans play in their environment, for better or worse. There is ample data to satisfy those who seek data, but Mr Williams is also able to paint wonderful word-pictures to convey a sense of the otter's world, and he does so honestly and with disarming wit. Oh, and the photos: ample, and wonderful!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The author is an ex-otter hunter! 27 Aug 2012
By Bosie - Published on
So that people are very much aware of the author's background: James Williams is a former otterhunter (and proud of it) is a senior member of the Culmstock Minkhounds (formerly the Culmstock Otterhounds) and chairs the otter group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. He also breeds gundogs, writes for Shooting Times under a different name (James Roslin-Williams) and follows the Quantock Staghounds. Unbelievably to most 'normal' people, talk is now of bringing back otterhunting if numbers could allow it. The old otterhunts changed to minkhunting when it became 'poor form' to hunt an animal that was almost extinct in the wild in the late 70's. They've kept their packs of hounds going in the hope that they could eventually return to their preferred perversion of hunting otters for fun. They've even got hunters running otter surveying groups for wildlife trusts (eg James Williams, the author of this book) We wonder what they will be doing with this population data if otterhunting is revived?
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