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Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Sweet smell of success for otters
pair of otters [generic]
Otters... they're now believed to be found on most of Wrexham's waterways

Experts believe the numbers of otters making their homes on the banks of the area's waterways are on the up.

And how does the person charged with finding them know this without actually seeing one - she can smell them a mile off.

For Wrexham Council's biodiversity officer, Emma Broad, says there are unique things to look for when searching for otters.

And the main one is the "sweet" smell of their spraints or droppings.


"The droppings are very distinctive and full of fish bones and scales," says Emma who last saw an otter on her patch eight years ago and that was an otter and its cub at Higher Wych, although she's also aware of two otter corpses being reported in Gresford and Bangor on Dee within the last few years.

Emma has completed a survey on behalf of the Environment Agency, finding evidence of the existence of otters on most rivers and their tributaries in the county of Wrexham.

She found spraints at Kingsmill, near Wrexham town; Nant Mill, Coedpoeth; on the River Alyn, Gresford; the River Dee, Bangor on Dee; and in several locations in the Ceiriog Valley.

However, Emma points out that a single otter can leave up to 20 spraints in a single night to mark its territory. Plus, an otter can roam 40 kilometres (24 miles) in a single night.

Emma's keen to encourage walkers to look out for otters and their markings and to let her know.

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