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How to Trap Otters

Updated July 19, 2017

It is true that otters are entertaining at the zoo, especially when they are playing with a ball, or swimming upside-down. However, if you have a private pond, lake, or other form of aquatic life, chances are the otter is simply unwanted. Otters feed off the fish in an aquatic system, and will eventually destroy it. Here are tips on how to trap and relocate otters according to state law.

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  1. Find a trap big enough to hold the otter. You can predict the otter's size by how many fish are missing from your aquatic habitat.

  2. Place the trap at an "access point," one in which you know the otter will return to.

  3. Add the salmon paste or specialised otter lure to the front of the trap in a tiny trail leading up to the centre of the trap.

  4. Wait at least 2-4 hours, away from the habitat. The otter may sense something aloof in his domain if you stand there and watch.

  5. Lift the cage containing the otter from the aquatic habitat only by its handle. The otter is now caught, and ready for you to relocate it from your home.

  6. Tip

    When choosing an "access point" for your trap, it is useful to know that otters tend to defecate in the same place constantly. Look for the remnants, and place the trap there, because the otter will come back. Otters tend to locate within 10 miles of where they came from. In order to be sure they are gone, relocate them at least 20-25 miles away from your home or habitat.


    These instructions are for live trapping only. Most states have made it illegal for anyone to kill an otter, due to their rank on the endangered species list. If you come across a moment where the otter appears to be in pain, the best thing to do is let it go. You can always re-set the trap, but letting the otter continue to become injured puts you at risk for a hefty fine should they die. If for any reason you feel your skills are not sufficient enough to be working these traps, pick up a pamphlet on otter trapping from your local pet store, or from the link below, before attempting this. You should wear padded gloves at all times.

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Things You'll Need

  • Coil or Longspring Trap
  • Salmon Paste or Custom Otter Lure
  • Padded Gloves (Waterproof)

About the Author

Caroline Depalma

Caroline Depalma has been published in various literary magazines since 2005. She has written reviews for "Coldfront" magazine and "The Mantle." Depalma also serves on the poetry editing staff of "LIT" and "Caper." She holds an Master of Fine Arts in writing from New School University.

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