“Beguiling. The gentle and persistent search by Darlington sparkles.” —The Guardian
A plan formed in my mind. I would explore the places in this land that hid my grail. I would spend a whole year or longer, if that’s what it took, wading through marshes, hiding between mossy rocks, paddling down rivers and swimming in sea lochs; recording my journey through the seasons as I searched for wild otters.
Mysterious, graceful, and ever-clever, otters have captivated our imaginations, despite the fact that few people have encountered one in the wild. In Otter Country, celebrated nature writer Miriam Darlington captures the fascination she's had for these playful animals since childhood, and chronicles her immersive journey into their watery world.
Over the course of a single year, Darlington takes readers on a winding expedition in pursuit of these elusive creatures—from her home in Devon, England, and through the wilds of Scotland, Wales, the Lake District, and the countryside of Cornwall. As she’s drawn deeper into wilder habitats, trekking through changing landscapes, seasons, and weather, Darlington meets biologists, conservationists, fishing and hunting enthusiasts, and poets—enriching her understanding, admiration, and awe of the wild otter. With each encounter, she reveals the scientific, environmental, and cultural importance of this creature and the places it calls home.
Full of wonder, hope, and an abiding love for the natural world, Otter Country: An Unexpected Adventure in the Natural World is a beautiful and captivating work of nature writing, pursuing one of nature’s most endearing and endlessly fascinating creatures.
About the Author
Miriam Darlington is the author of The Wise Hours: A Journey into the Wild and Secret World of Owls and contributes frequently to The Times, The Guardian, and The Ecologist. She lives in Devon, England.
Entrancing. . . . Darlington burnishes her reputation as a gifted nature writer with this vivid examination of the behavior, biology, and evolution of otters.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review
Darlington delivers another delightfully lyrical nature chronicle.
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
Captivating and enthralling, Otter Country is an entertaining, enlightening account loaded with fascinating insights into the marine animals.
— Foreword Reviews, starred review
Miriam Darlington reveals the scientific, environmental, and cultural importance of these elusive beings. . . . Her book offers hope about what can be done to save otters and many other wonderful animals.
— Psychology Today
A beautiful book full of sensuous lyricism [and] an important contribution to British writing on otters, a tradition in which this country is especially rich.
— Mark Cocker, author of Crow Country
Otters are one of British conservation's new success stories, and this wonderful book is their anthem. The strong clear writing, fascinating research and warm personal voice make it a lovesong not only to otters but to Britain.
— Ruth Padel, author of Tigers in Red Weather
A diary of utter devotion where landscape is interpreted as otter-text, its messages elusive but traced with deep sensitivity.
— Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey
Otter Country, a beautifully written, intimate exposé of all things otter, in which Miriam Darlington carefully explains what it is like to be an otter and how they must adapt to, and fight for, survival in an increasingly human world. . . . a must read for anyone who wants to know more about these fascinating and mysterious animals with whom we share our magnificent planet.
— Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., author of Dogs Demystified: An A-to-Z Guide to All Things Canine