Otter in our garden

We haven't actually seen him or her as yet but our neighbour has; a not so wee sleekit creature strolling in the  morning half light down our driveway. Otter! The theory is that he or she is after the feedstuff that Dee over-generously puts out for birds large and small. Some weeks ago we discovered an animal run coming up the roadside ditch from the lochside beach fifty metres distant. The run proceeds through a hole in the dry stone garden wall. We had assumed it was made by a rabbit because we've seen those on the lawn a few times. However they don't last long before carnivores, whether on wings or fast feet, come to take them. A year ago I reported  here how we actually watched a weasel at his wierdly extravagent and quite blood-chilling dance of death around a rabbit struck motionless with fear, and then ...

But otters have no enemies other than, historically, the usual ones; the ones on two legs with big sticks. Not so now. Who these days would seek to kill an otter? (Other than by accident under lethal, fast moving vehicle wheels, that is.) We quite often see them hunting the weedy margins, again as reported here. We always stop still to watch, as if as spellbound as that rabbit. It lifts our spirits in some strange way. Once we saw one come up from a dive with some awful excrescence around its head. We thought it might have been injured by a boat's propellor although there was narry a boat in sight. Very seldom is in Gruinard Bay. Then we realised it had hold of the body of an octopus that had wrapped its tentacles all around the otter's head.

Of course otters are not benign. Nature does not permit of benign carnivores. They can, by our perception, be exceedingly cruel. A crofting neighbour lost one duck per night for some time before realising it was mummy otter up from the beachside holt looking to keep fed her three cubs. To her credit said crofting lady reacted by simply making the quarters of her remaining livestock more marauder proof. Lady otter would just have to work harder at the fishing, and did.

p.s. Needless to say, Dee has altered her garden offerings now. More fishy stuff. So perhaps we too will get to see our furry neighbour 'ere long.

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