Tuesday, 14 January 2014

100 years ago: The killer otter's fondness for frogs

Much as we hate to hear of the slaughter of any wild creature, we must make allowance for the Clitheroe farmer who, as reported to-day, killed one in his farmyard. He was protecting his stock from the attacks of a large and rapacious carnivorous animal. It is a mistake to think of the otter as a fish-eater only; it will kill and devour any mammal or bird which is not too large or powerful, and it has a fondness for frogs. I have personally come across instances of local otters eating rabbits and wild ducks and one case of an otter attempting to raid a farmyard. This last was an otter which was killed in Dunham, and the animal had probably come from the Bollin and crossed two high park walls to reach the poultry it longed for. Yesterday I heard a curious otter story. The otter in question had been captured young and kept as a pet; it was quite tame and ran about the house. A too kindly friend of its owner thought that the otter must require water, and in its master's absence gave it a swim in the cistern. Unfortunately it was left there a little too long, and was drowned! Probably a fish diet as well as the aquatic habit is acquired by each generation of otters.

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