Shetland Nature

Wildlife, Birding & Photography Holidays

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Otters in Shetland

Guided Day Tours  |  One-to-One Photo Assignments  |  Packaged Otter Holiday Itineraries

Enjoy and learn about Shetland’s otters with renowned specialist guides

Photo by Brydon Thomason.


Brydon Thomason with Doug Allan; one of the world's best known wildlife cameramen

Brydon Thomason with Doug Allan; one of the world’s best known wildlife cameramen

Not the most promising of days when Brydon picked me up in Lerwick, the mist hanging on the hills, white horses on the water. But the man’s utterly enthusiastic, his passion for Shetland wildlife shines through. As he we explored stretches of shoreline where he knew the otter territories, Brydon patiently explained about heeding the wind direction, staying off the skyline, talking softly, how to look for the tell tale signs of the otter signs and holts. I’ve worked with many guides while filming, and I could see he had real sensitivity and all the patience. The afternoon slipped by effortlessly. We spent 30 minutes watching a female with her two cubs full frame binocular view, diving, catching fish and taking them ashore to eat and playing on the shore. Simply magic. You know the great thing about Brydon? No matter what happens, you know you’re going to have a good day when you’re with him.Doug Allan – Wildlife Cameraman

Wild Otters are undoubtedly one of the most charismatic and captivating mammals in Britain. Few creatures encapsulate both the ‘aw’ and the ‘wow’ factors like Otters do; from their stealthy hunting and predatory abilities to the intimate, adorable and playful antics of a mother and her cubs.

Shetland is arguably the best place in Britain to see Eurasian Otters with the islands actually boasting the highest density of these marvellously evocative mammals anywhere in Europe and in fact probably the world! Here Otters evolved to be much more at home in the salt-water coastal environment where they thrive owing to Shetlands pristine waters and wonderfully wild, remote and breathtakingly beautiful coastal habitats.

Initially built around Brydon’s lifelong love of Otters in Shetland and his reputation as the ‘go to man’ for enthusiasts and or experts seeking to enjoy, study, photograph or film them, we now delight more visitors with otter encounters each year than any other company. This is helped enormously by fellow colleagues (and otter addicts) such as Gary Bell and Richard Shucksmith who Brydon collaborates with on various otter based assignments.

Our otter itineraries and assignments

Our knowledge of Otters here and the sites they inhabit is second to none. We study Otters all year round and our working lives essentially revolve around them and the rhythms of the tides that their daily routines follow. By doing so know which sites are being used and when. This allows us to communicate an unrivaled and intimate insight into these evocative animals’ lives.

Otters are a protected species by law. We take our responsibility to otters very seriously and our reputation as leading otter guides comes not only from the experience and insight we communicate to visitors about their lives, ecology and how to watch them responsibly but is also bona fide by a schedule 2 License authorized by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Here is what we can do for you:

Otter Photography with Brydon Thomason

Brydon’s lifelong love of otters and his passion to capture the fascinating and entertaining behavioural aspects of their lives helped him create and develop a niche for photographers (from serious amateur to well-known professionals) seeking a specialist assignment from all over the world.

Read about Otter Photography.

The Shetland Otter Experience Holiday

A totally unique holiday dedicated to otters, led by otter addicts – for otter addicts! This holiday profiles one of Britain’s most loved, captivating and admired mammals, led by well known otter guides.

Read more about The Shetland Otter Experience

Shetland Otter Watching Experience

Spend a day with us along some of our most beautiful remote stretches of shoreline where otters abound. Learn about their movements and daily routines; how and where to find them and how to read the signs and track them along our shores.

Read more about Shetland Otter Watching Experience.

Focus on Otters – photography, ecology and fieldcraft

A holiday itinerary dedicated to otters and those who adore them! We visit and explore the most densely populated sites and habitats that otters inhabit around Shetland and share our knowledge of the otter families and individuals that belong to them. With five full days of otter tracking time and evening discussions and presentations all on otters – this holiday provides an unrivalled insight into the lives of otters.

Read more about Focus on Otters

TV appearances and guest recommendations

Read about Brydon’s on screen appearances working on Otters for productions such as BBC’s Countryfile and ITV’s Alison Steadmans Shetland and what our guests have said about otters in Shetland and their time with us.

Read more about TV appearances and guest recommendations.


Visit Brydon's Otter blog for his most recent images and encounters

Visit Brydon’s Otter blog for his most recent images and encounters

Supporting:Supporting The International Otter Survival Fund