Otter-ly wonderful encounter
I am a habitat surveyor for protected species and enjoy watching otters in my spare time but this encounter was particularly special. I had been told that a cub had been hanging around a secret location in Scotland for a few weeks with no sign of a mother or siblings so I went to see how it was getting on.
As soon as I sat down on the sea wall, the youngster emerged carrying a crab and approached where I was sitting. The crustacean’s claw was still attached to the otter’s paw, and the mustelid was eyeing it suspiciously.
Wary of another crab attack, the cub abandoned its prey and went off in search of another meal. In all, the otter hunted and ate 10 crabs just a few metres from me before drinking some fresh water from a culvert and heading off for a snooze in the bracken.
I have been back several times to monitor its progress and it is catching fish as well as crabs and gaining lots of weight, so I am reassured that it has a great chance of survival.
The coastal otters here can be quite bold and sightings of them are frequent, but it’s always a bit concerning when otters come into such close contact with people. However, from my previous experience of observing them, this proximity is something which lessens as they get older (and wiser?) and venture further for prey in their territory.
Barbara watched this young otter hunt and eat 10 crabs from a sea wall in Scotland.