Otters are known to be timid creatures, so count yourself lucky if you manage to spot one along Galway’s waterways. Despite their shyness, more and more of them have settled in Irish cities over the years, owing to the abundance of fish and water birds present along the cities’ rivers. In Galway, they can sometimes be found swimming in the Claddagh basin or near the banks of the canals. The European otter has thick fur, webbed feet, and ears and noses that temporarily seal shut while they are underwater. They can live for five to ten years. Between their body and tail, they can measure up to one metre in length, and their size is often compared to that of a small dog. In fact, in the Irish language, they go by the name of ‘Madra Uisce’ (water dog).